Who rewrites the Bible? Probably we all do!

Openoureyeslord welcomes Guest writer, Sam Kautzmann, here with his wife Katie

“We can’t interpret the Bible according to our own personal taste! Or twist it to conform with today’s culture! Or invent our own meaning!” Most of us evangelicals would say Amen. And we all could list Those People Out There who rewrite the Bible to fit their own ideas of truth.

And then we go on to commit the very same mistake. Bible rewriting is a universal disease, not a quarantined outbreak.

Let’s use a well-known verse as our test subject:

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15–17

So, we need to be child-like. What does Jesus mean? Should we be Trusting? Happy? Intelligent?

Below are quotes from Google’s top four results of the search, “Bible how to receive like a child”:

(1) the key characteristic of children is humility; (2) they want to learn everything they can about God; (3) they are completely vulnerable and dependent; (4) children are straightforward! And of course people will add, they are trusting! Oh, and they have a sense of wonder! Look a cute story! Have you seen my baby pictures?

If you ask an adult class, you’re liable to have similar results: they may be ‘spiritualized’ humble! Hopeful! Trusting! Innocent! Needy! ‘Not my kids!’ may be shouted (more…)

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What Would a Mother Do? [Studies in Thessalonians]

mom2013(please feel free to use this for a sermon on Mother’s Day, adding in stories of mothers you know)

Let’s take a stroll past the Mother’s Day card rack:

For Mother
For Mother, Sentimental
For Mother, Loving
For Mother, Humorous (that category is potentially hazardous)
For Mother, Respectful (these seem to be very carefully worded)
For Mother with a recorded message on digital chip.

Then in an effort to sell more cards, we run across a section: “for someone who is like a mother to me.” It’s a great idea: there are literal mothers, then there is a whole world of aunts, grandmothers, cousins, in-laws, dear friends, mentors, an army of women. (more…)

Advice for a teenaged young man

mf6HAyEA few weeks ago, a young Christian friend of mine turned 13. His mom asked some of us to write out words of counsel for him. Here are things I wish someone had told me at age 13, given in no particular order and no with aim to be comprehensive:

  • At this stage, your brain is keyed to memorize things easily. It’s the best time of your life when you should memorize portions of the Bible. Believe me, it gets harder with every passing year.
  • You are also at an age when you can study the Bible for yourself. I read the Bible through for the first time when I was 14, and was pleased to see how much of it I could understand.
  • Always tell the truth, to people and to God, even about trivial matters. Always. Lying is for cowards and is one of the most corrosive practices in your relationship with God.
  • Choose your friends wisely. Don’t run with the cool people, run with the good ones.
  • Whatever bad habits you develop now will follow you the rest of your life (I’m thinking particularly of foul language, but the rule applies across the board). Even if you gain victory of them later on, they will never disappear completely, so I advise you to avoid them in the first place.
  • Treat women with kindness and respect, beginning with your mother and sisters.
  • Don’t just complain about problems, be a person who seeks positive solutions.
  • Extend your education, both formal and informal, as far as you possibly can. Read excellent books.
  • Seek out people of good Christian character and base your lifestyle on what you see in them.
  • Don’t be one of those Christians who just receives blessings; always keep an eye open to help other people in need.
  • When you are in a group, look around to see who is lonely; make them feel befriended.
  • Finally: You are at the stage when you can fully develop your own relationship with God, and not just relate to him through the church or through your parents. Go to him directly and build a good strong bond.

Happy 13th birthday! Gary

I’m a Dad – what does God want me to do?

What exactly is a father supposed to do? Ask a dozen people and you’ll get two dozen answers. USA Today just ran an editorial yesterday, which stated that “The most important thing is to make sure of their education – from kindergarten through college.” I thought, “Very well, yes, that’s crucial. It’s a positive, measurable goal.”

As a Christian, I believe that God wants me to walk a certain path that the rest of the world doesn’t follow, and that includes how I should live as a father (or a husband, or teacher, or citizen, etc.). Now, we raised four children, who are now adults, and we thought that we were done. However, to my surprise, we are now raising a four-year-old boy who came to us from an abusive background. So I’m not just interested in this theme in theory, I need to know what to do this afternoon when our foster child comes home!

Here are two methods of figuring out what God wants you to do as a father:

Method #1 is what we’ll name the Key Passage Method. There are roughly 1600 references to the word “father” in the Bible, (more…)

Can stay-at-home Dads be “real men”?

I guess I came in late for this controversy: from 2008 there’s a YouTube clip of a famous preacher and his wife, responding to the question: “What are your thoughts on stay-at-home dads if the woman really wants to work?”[1]

“Too many guys take too little responsibility” was part of the answer, one with which I fully resonate. We have a culture where men play at being boys well into their adult years. At a time when their fathers and grandfathers had buckled down to marriage and a job or were off fighting Nazis, some guys focus on playing the field or playing paintball until they’re, well, practically my age. The women are complaining, as they ought to be. These guys need to hear a Word about their behavior.

But let’s put them to one side, since the gist of their response was something else: If men are not the primary bread-winners in the family, they are not doing “what the Word says.” Parenting must be done principally by the mother, not just “anyone,” not even the father. The idea of a father staying at home to focus on raising children is a perverted idea, taken from our modern culture, not the Bible. These men are “conformed to this world.” Such behavior would even by “a case for church discipline.”

Okay, let’s see what the Word really says. (more…)