The Grandness of Grandparenting

Now this is the commandment, the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them . . . that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged (Deuteronomy 6:1-2).

God undoubtedly desires His people to keep a trans-generational perspective.  The Lord delights in His people teaching His Word to their children, so that they may teach their children, and so on.  And God loves to see redeemed Grandparents bouncing grandbabies on their knees while singing, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.”  Our Lord is faithful across the generations.  And our aim should be to see His grace produce trans-generational faithfulness in our own families.  

While I am not yet a grandparent, and do not anticipate being one for several more years, I do pastor many grandparents.  I enjoy watching them with their grandchildren.  It is a visual reminder of God’s goodness.  But grandparenting in our culture has become far more complicated than in previous generations.  We have some grandparents in our congregation who have had to take it upon themselves to raise their grandchildren full-time.  They’re essentially parenting all over again.  I commend them for stepping up and standing in the gap with the souls of their grandchildren on the line.  And we have grandparents who “watch” their grandchildren several days a week.  In many ways, they too are raising those children.  It’s easy for pastors to get so focused on the parents and young couples in a church that we forget the grandparents.  So, for what my thoughts are worth, I offer a few practical pointers to all you precious parents that are “grand.”

  • If you are actually functioning as a full-time parent, you need to ask for God’s grace to transition from the role of grandparent to parent.  Not easy.  But essential.  There are significant differences in the parent-child relationship and the grandparent-grandchild relationship.  To effectively parent, you need to be a parent.  
  • If you are parenting as a grandparent due to some kind of brokenness in the biological parent (your child), then study up on biblical forgiveness and seek grace for kindness and patience.  Speaking ill of your grandchild’s parent in front of the child is disastrous.  Avoid it!  And gently urge the parent (your child) to get whatever help he or she needs.  The goal should be, if at all possible, to see the parent and child fully restored.  
  • Do not enable grown children to live in sin or indulge a sinful lifestyle.  Paying for biblical counseling for the grown child – yes!  Giving cash to the grown child battling addictions – no!  Helping buy school supplies for the grandchild – yes!  Allowing the grown child to give herself consistently to sin under your roof – no!
  • If the situation with the parents is desperate and not reconcilable in the long-term, pursue legal custody of the grandchild(ren).  This makes so many things simpler on you if you find yourself functioning as a parent.
  • If you provide regular childcare to your grandchildren, do not do it for free.  I know this sounds harsh to some, but I do not believe you are doing your children any real favors by serving as a free, permanent childcare solution.  Charge them half what they would have to pay an actual daycare.  This at least forces responsibility back where it belongs – on the parents.  You can always put the earnings into your grandchild’s college fund!  
  • Do not agree to provide regular childcare for your grandchildren without asking the parents some hard questions.  Like, “Why do you need this childcare?”  And, “Have you downgraded your lifestyles in order to do everything possible to allow mom to stay home with the children?”  And, “Let me see your budget.”  Far too often in our culture parents are simply taking advantage of grandparents in order to maintain a certain standard of living.  And the problem exists as much inside the church as outside!
  • Do take every opportunity to laugh and frolic with your grandchildren!  You never know how many more opportunities to do so the Lord will give you.  
  • Do teach your grandchildren the Gospel.  Read the Bible to them.  Read gospel-centered books to them.  Christian bookstores are stocked with shelf after shelf of great biblical children’s books now!  
  • Pray over your grandchild.  Pray blessings on their heads.  Pray with your grandchild.  Teach them to pray and relish the precious words they utter to God.  When they pray something amazing or just cute, write it in a journal.  You’ll enjoy the memories and smile each time you read the journal entry.  In today’s world, you might even film some of your prayer times or fun times with them on your phone.   
  • Use technology to stay in touch with grandchildren.  For those separated by distance, there really is no excuse today for not still being connected to your grandchildren’s lives.  
  • Find out what your grandchildren enjoy and encourage and support them.  I’ve seen 8-year old boys verifiably giddy just because grandpa showed up to their baseball game.  As long as God gives you the health, get out there and enjoy life with those grandbabies!

Well, that’s enough to keep us busy for a while.  When it comes to matters of parents and grandparents in the church, my strong desire is to see parents working hard by God’s grace to allow grandparents to just be grandparents.  That will bless families across generational lines in ways we cannot imagine.  In some ways, many of the above tips pain me to write.  I wish they were not so needed.  May God restore peace and gospel wholeness to our families.  May the Lord give us a revival of Psalm 78:1-8 families.  For the sake of Christ, and the joy of all you parents who are GRAND!           

               

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Ten Years of Gospel Unity!

On Sunday, March 12th, 2017 we (Corydon Baptist Church) celebrated our 10th Anniversary!  The history of CBC is unique.  In 1994, First Baptist Church of Corydon had an ugly split that resulted in a group leaving and forming Cross of Calvary Baptist Church.  But in 2007, by a mighty act of God’s grace and power, those two churches reunified under the banner of Corydon Baptist Church!  We pray that our unique history will become commonplace, as churches that were once at odds lay down their offenses at the Cross and unite for the sake of God’s glory in the gospel of Jesus Christ!

To open the celebration this past Sunday, I read John 17, and spoke these words:

We gather here today to celebrate!  We celebrate Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  We celebrate God the Father who sent Him to us.  We celebrate God the Holy Spirit who imparts His eternal life to us.  We celebrate the Triune God.  He is a Tri-Unity.  And we celebrate unity.  True unity.  Not unity that the world celebrates.  But unity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By God’s Grace, Ten Years ago, two churches that had once been at odds made a decision.  To honor God and His Gospel above all.  Above all other differences.  Above all other preferences.  Above all other offenses.  And Corydon Baptist Church was born!  It was Gospel Unity birthed in hearts by the Holy Spirit that brought this church into being.  And it is the Gospel which unites us still.

The Gospel of a Holy, Sovereign, Righteous, Just and Loving Creator God.

The Gospel of unholy, sinful, rebellious, fallen man. 

The Gospel of mankind helplessly and rightly condemned by God and spiritually dead before God. 

The Gospel of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, living a perfectly righteous life, dying a substitutionary death in our place, rising from the dead to justify His people before God, and ascending to reign at His Father’s right hand until His enemies be made His footstool. 

The Gospel of the Sweet Holy Spirit convicting men and women of their sin and powerfully, irresistibly drawing them to faith in Jesus and granting them repentance of sin. 

The Gospel of the Loving Rule and Reign of Christ in and through His New Covenant People, the Church, as He sanctifies us and sends us out to make Him known in Corydon and to ends of the earth.

This is our unity!  This is our identity!  The Good News that God rescues and forgives sinners through the Person and Work of His Son, Jesus.  This is our heartbeat.  Let all lesser things never come between us.  And while not every Christian who comes our way wants to be a part of God’s work among us, we must stay the course of living to please God and not men!  Because we are Gospel People, first, foremost and always.  This is how the world knows that God sent Jesus – a oneness that defies all worldly explanation.  A family resemblance that comes only through a common commitment to let Jesus get bigger while we all get smaller.

O God thank You for making us one!  Make us one still.  Let this Church be known, be marked by one thing and one thing only – The Glory of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Hallelujah!  Amen.  

 

 

 

 

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Jane Roe – A Real Hero

Jane Roe was not her real name.  That’s just the name the feminists gave her when they hijacked her life and her story to foist abortion on America.  They called her Jane Roe (Roe v Wade).  But as Pastor Jim Garlow recently quipped:

  History will remember her as “Jane Roe.” But eternity will forever know her as Norma McCorvey, a child of God.

While Norma lived the first half of her life as a pro-abortion advocate, she gave the last half of her life to the pro-life cause.  And even better, she gave the last half of her life to the Lord Jesus Christ.  God used Pastor Flip Benham (yes, the Benham brothers’ Dad) to lead her to faith in Christ.  Flip befriended her with love, and began pouring the gospel into her life.  She was stunned.  She had been told pro-lifers were mean and hateful.  By the grace of God, love won out in Norma’s life!

In the summer of 1995, Norma repented of her sins and trusted in Jesus as Savior of her broken life.  Not only was her identity “stolen” by the abortion lobby, she also was essentially forced into giving her baby up for adoption. (Ironic, isn’t it, that she never even had an abortion?)  But the blood of Jesus can wash the vilest sins from the worst of sinners!  Norma McCorvey was living proof.  Upon learning of her repentance and faith in Christ, Metroplex Chapel in Euless, TX, embraced her with the loving arms of Jesus.  Pastor Garlow describes it well:

Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of the infamous Roe v. Wade case had not only experienced the love and forgiveness of Jesus. She had now experienced the love and forgiveness of the body of Christ—the church. 

And that’s as it should be!

Recently, one of the Pastors I am privileged to serve with here preached from Ephesians 2.  He spoke of our past, present and future.  And he noted that while past sins may be forgiven, our actual actions in the past simply cannot be changed.  But when the saving grace of God in Christ sweeps into our lives, our present and future are altered radically!  We receive a new history.  His story becomes our story.  We are wrapped up in Christ Jesus.  Seated with Him in the heavenly places.  Destined for an eternity of giving Him glory.  With all of the redeemed people of God in Christ.

Norma  – Jane Roe – is now experiencing the glorious eternal future ordained by God for those He saves.  Norma passed from death into life February 18, 2017, at age 69.  She is now and forever a trophy of God’s amazing grace.

If you or someone close to you is suffering from the after effects of an abortion, or if you are pregnant and need help, please contact Choices Life Resource Center: http://choiceslrc.org/

For more detail on Norma’s life, visit http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/63139-norma-mccorvey-s-first-church-experience-as-a-believer.

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If That Isn’t Love

February.  The month for lovers.  

Fat cupid babies shooting arrows not-withstanding, Valentine’s Day can actually be a great opportunity to share the meaning of true love with someone.  If we can get our minds off chocolates and exciting date nights just long enough, we might just find creative ways to talk about Jesus with lost friends, neighbors and co-workers this month.

While creativity has never been my strong suit, I’ll still venture to offer a few ideas.

  • Type or write a letter to a family member expressing your gratitude for their love over the years.  And take the opportunity to explain a few ways their love mirrors the greatest love of all – the sacrificial, condescending love of God in Christ.
  • Make sweet treats for neighbors and include a card with an evangelistic Scripture on it.  On the back side of the card, put something like “Jesus is the sweetest person I know.  Ask me why!”
  • At a lunch with co-workers ask everyone to define “love.”  Use the opportunity not to poke fun at their definitions, but rather to offer your own using 1 John 4:7-11.  (I recommend memorizing this passage and a brief two minute explanation of it.)
  • Text John 3:16 to friends and family and remind them that there is no greater love than that of God’s Son laying down His life for us, even though we are “sinners condemned unclean.”
  • Go visit someone in a nursing home, or an elderly shut-in or a widow.  Be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer. Go love the lonely, hurting, and sick.

One of my fond childhood memories is of my Mom singing a song written by Dottie Rambo titled “If That Isn’t Love.” Soak up these lyrics and then go share this amazing love with others this month.

He left the splendor of heaven
Knowing His destiny
Was the lonely hill of Golgotha
There to lay down His life for me
(Chorus)
And if that isn’t love
Then the ocean is dry
There’s no stars in the sky
And the little sparrows can’t fly
Yeah if that isn’t love
Then heaven’s a myth
There’s no feeling like this
If that isn’t love
Even in death He remembered
The thief hanging by His side
Then he spoke of love and compassion
And He took him to paradise

(Repeat Chorus)

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When Pro-Lifers are Only Mostly Pro-life

abortion“Abortion Stops a Beating Heart!”

We’ve seen this bumper sticker on cars for decades now.  I’m not sure where the slogan came from, but it’s certainly true.  Medical research is now showing an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected at 12 weeks from conception, and sometimes even weeks earlier.  That means the brain has already developed enough to be “telling” the heart to beat!

One would think that someone who claims to be pro-life would unequivocally support the notion that “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart.”  And one would think a pro-lifer would then desire to do whatever he or she could to keep as many of those little hearts beating as possible.  It makes so much common sense.

But not if you’re Governor John Kasich.

Last week he vetoed the “Heartbeat Bill” which would have banned abortions in Ohio once a heartbeat was detected. And what’s worse, the Ohio Right to Life supported his spineless decision!  The Ohio RTL cited potential difficulties getting such a bill to stand before the Supreme Court.

I think we can call that “fear of man.”  Since when do we pro-lifers allow judicial viability to drive our decisions?  I thought we stood to defend the right to life!  Period.

And the Governor himself had the pathetic audacity to mention his concern about the cost of defending the Heartbeat Bill in the courts.  Did I just hear you correctly, Mr. Governor?  Saving babies is a great goal, but only if it doesn’t cost too much?  Well, because of your cowardice and moral depravity, rest assured thousands of unborn boys and girls will continue to pay the ultimate price.  Your evil will cost them their lives.

While I was quite public in my lack of support for President-elect Donald Trump, I can now say, “Thank you Lord that John Kasich did not win the nomination.”  I am hoping and praying Mr. Trump will demonstrate a true moral and ethical spine in the matter of the pro-life cause.  God make it so.  O Lord, remove this scourge from our culture.  How can we ever hope to glorify You as Creator and Sustainer of life when we continue to snuff it out in its most innocent and harmless form?

At this time of year, Christmastime, it is worth remembering and celebrating that our Mighty God did not ask Mary her opinion.  God did not give Mary the “right to do what she wanted with her own body.”  Rather, He declared what would be!  He would use her to bring Himself great glory and to bless the peoples of the earth with His salvation in Jesus Christ.  With His sovereign, almighty Spirit, He simply “overshadowed” her and “therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

Thank You God for being a Rock of Life.  Forgive our national cowardice.  And replace our yellow-bellied leaders with men and women of genuine, biblical convictions.  For the sake of Christ’s fame among the nations.  Amen.            

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