Archive for July, 2009



It’s never too early to get good info in your hands. Here you go:

Boundless.org is now making available their free, attractive booklet: A Girl’s Guide to Marrying Well.

Based on the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility it’s designed to encourage and equip you for marriage. Not marriage at all costs, but marrying well for your good and God’s glory.May God bless the time you spend reading this, align your desires with His, and help you become a godly woman for a godly man.

This complements their earlier resource, A Guy’s Guide to Marrying Well.


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Really starting to like this guy. I read his stuff consistently for awhile, stopped for no reason and now I am back to reading it.


There is a hideous new trend in sports that we need to stomp out like milkweed before it spreads. Scientists are calling it the Hey, look what I did, everybody! syndrome. There have been three dreadful examples of it lately, all from people who should know better.

Start with Phil Jackson. When he and his Lakers fricasseed the Magic to win another title, it was Jackson’s 10th NBA coaching championship, a new record. Jackson had become the king of coaches. Everyone knew he was going for 10 — it’s not like it was a secret — and there was the appropriate applause, huzzahs and standing on chairs.

But that wasn’t good enough for him. He decided to paint a mustache on his Mona Lisa by quickly grabbing a hat with a big X on it — for 10 — and plunking it on his head.

Hey, look what I did, everybody!

How were the Magic supposed to react to his new look? It was as if Jackson were saying, “Sorry to wear this in front of you so soon, but, c’mon, we knew where this was going, right?”

Tacky. Shrill. Brash. For a Zenmaster, it was very un-Zen. Here was the all-time preacher of team hoops, with his team all around him — still sweaty from all that teamwork — and Jackson suddenly went 100 percent “me.” That hat said, Aren’t I amazing! Doesn’t this hat prove it? Don’t you wish you had one?

I hated that hat for the same reason I hate those hideous championship T-shirts and caps that teams don the instant the final buzzer sounds. Why cover up the glory of the jerseys you bled in together all season — the ones that have your city or team name emblazoned on the front — with some ugly shirts nobody can read? And why top it off with an ugly hat that just dangles a tag in your face?

Anyway, at least Jackson and his agents decided to donate the proceeds from X hat sales to charity. Of course, that just makes what Roger Federer did look so much worse.

Not two minutes after he had defeated Andy Roddick in a 77-game Wimble-never-done final, he went back to his bench, pulled out a tracksuit top with a 15 plastered on the side, put it on and spun around for the TV cameras. It was his way of congratulating himself on his 15th major, the one that bested Pete Sampras’ old mark.

Hey, look what I did, everybody!

Now you tell me: How was poor Roddick supposed to have taken that? It’s like Rog was bragging: I knew I was going to roast you, A-Rod. That’s why my people have been working on this all week!

Talk about cheeky. I mean, it’s not as if some little seamstress ran out to iron the patch onto his jacket after the fact. The thing was in his bag the whole time! It’s not just the sweater that was manufactured. The gesture was too.

I hated that sweater for the same reason I hate when a player preens for the camera in the “I’m going to Disney World” commercials. Here’s his pinnacle moment, the one he’s worked toward his whole life. He should be going absolutely Lindsay Lohan nuts, but instead he’s looking into the sea of people for a director, a cameraman and a boom mike.

Once more, Mr. Montana — only this time, can you cry?

Federer’s sweater was a rare show of classlessness from a normally classy guy. One dipped in gold, no less. A gold sweater with a gold 15 pulled out of a gold man-bag. What, they couldn’t gold-plate the man himself?

Jackson and Federer — are better than that. They almost always rise above the schlock. When they don’t, it’s unbecoming.

I don’t remember seeing pictures of FDR rolling up to his fourth election-night victory speech wearing a “Four-ever!” tuxedo jacket. Neil Armstrong didn’t splash down with a “MoonMan” tat on his biceps. And I sure don’t remember John Wooden slapping on an X hat after his 10th NCAA title.

Athletes, coaches … these are your moments; don’t sell their purity. You will get your due, in due time.

Just let it come from us.

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From Rick Reilly at ESPN.com

Tiger Woods has outgrown those Urkel glasses he had as a kid. Outgrown the crazy hair. Outgrown a body that was mostly neck.

When will he outgrow his temper?

The man is 33 years old, married, the father of two. He is paid nearly $100 million a year to be the representative for some monstrously huge companies, from Nike to Accenture. He is the world’s most famous and beloved athlete.

And yet he spent most of his two days at Turnberry last week doing the Turn and Bury. He’d hit a bad shot, turn and bury his club into the ground in a fit. It was two days of Tiger Tantrums — slamming his club, throwing his club and cursing his club. In front of a worldwide audience.

A whole lot of that worldwide audience is kids. They do what Tiger does. They swing like Tiger, read putts like Tiger and do the celebration biceps pump like Tiger. Do you think for two seconds they don’t think it’s cool to throw their clubs like Tiger, too?

He’s grown in every other way. He’s committed, responsible, smart, funny and the most talented golfer in history. I just thought we’d be over the conniptions by now.

If there were no six-second delay, Tiger Woods would be the reason to invent it. Every network has been burned by having the on-course microphone open when he blocks one right into the cabbage and starts with the F-bombs. Once, at Doral, he unleashed a string of swear words at a photographer that would’ve made Artie Lange blush, and then snarled, “‘The next time a photographer shoots a [expletive] picture, I’m going to break his [expletive] neck!”

He’s grown in every other way. He’s committed, responsible, smart, funny, and the most talented golfer in history. I just thought we’d be over the conniptions by now.

It’s disrespectful to the game, disrespectful to those he plays with and disrespectful to the great players who built the game before him. Ever remember Jack Nicklaus doing it? Arnold Palmer? When Tom Watson was getting guillotined in that playoff to Stewart Cink, did you see him so much as spit? Only one great player ever threw clubs as a pro — Bobby Jones — and he stopped in his 20s when he realized how spoiled he looked.

This isn’t new. Woods has been this way for years: swearing like a Hooters’ bouncer, trying to bury the bottom of his driver into the tee box, flipping his club end over end the second he realizes his shot is way offline.

I can still remember the 1997 Masters — arguably the most important golf tournament ever played. Woods, then 21, was playing the 15th hole on Sunday. He had just hit a fairway wood out of the rough and was watching it. A young boy came up from behind just to touch him — just to pat the back of this amazing new superhero. That’s when Tiger pulled the club way back over his head and slammed it down, nearly braining the kid he couldn’t see behind him. And this was with a huge lead.

Look, in every other case, I think Tiger Woods has been an A-plus role model. Never shows up in the back of a squad car with a black eye. Never gets busted in a sleazy motel with three “freelance models.” Never gets so much as a parking ticket. But this punk act on the golf course has got to stop. If it were my son, I’d tell him the same thing: “Either behave or get off the course.”

Come to think of it, if I were the president of Nike, I’d tell him the same thing.

Put it this way: Will Tiger let his own two kids carry on in public like that?

I know what you’re saying. We see more Tiger tantrums because TV shows every single shot he hits. And I’m telling you: You’re wrong. He is one of the few on Tour who do it. And I keep wondering when PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is going to have the cojones to publicly upbraid him for it.

Golf is a gentlemen’s game. Stomping and swearing and carrying on like a Beverly Hills tennis brat might fly in the NBA or in baseball or in football, where less is expected, but golf demands manners. It’s your honor. Is my mark in your way? No, I had 6, not 5. Golfers call penalties on themselves. We are our own police. Tiger, police yourself.

Tiger does a boatload of work for kids. He raises millions for his Tiger Woods Learning Center, which has helped teach thousands. But teaching goes the wrong way, too. Tiger is teaching them that if he can be a hissy hothead on the course, they can, too.

I remember Tiger’s dad, Earl, telling a story. One day, when Tiger was just a kid, he was throwing his clubs around in a fuming fit when his dad said something like “Tiger, golf is supposed to be fun.” And Tiger said, “Daddy, I want to win. That’s how I have fun.”

Well, it’s not fun to watch.

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Young men: Learn self-control

Jeff Robinson
July 21, 2009

Two sports events this weekend, one seen across the globe, the other far more mundane, provided me with an opportunity to teach my six-year-old son a crucial lesson in biblical manhood.

The first event unfolded Saturday on a little league diamond near our home in a game involving my son. After getting a hit in each of his first two at-bats, Jeffrey grounded out to first base. He stroked a nice, hard grounder, but the first baseman made an even nicer play. A runner moved from second to third base on the play and thus it was, in baseball parlance, a productive out.

As his coach, I was pleased. As his father, I was less pleased, however, by what happened next: Jeffrey threw his batting helmet in anger. In the dugout, he knocked around some equipment and even gave his glove a brisk toss. Now, this is certainly no way to treat your equipment, but that is beside the point. As the team went back into the field for the next inning, I kept Jeffrey in the dugout with me. “You’re out of the game for the rest of the day,” I told him. Needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled.

After the game, we talked about sportsmanship and self-control and idolatry and doing all things to the glory of God. We talked about the humbling nature of baseball, how even Ted Williams failed seven times in 10, how you must put failure behind you and how the game parallels the Christian pilgrimage. Self-control and learning how to fail gracefully are critical lessons for future men to learn; they are a critical part of manhood, a critical part of a man’s ability to lead well. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Prov. 25:28) Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:23) and Paul urged young men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:6). I want my sons to learn this lesson in baseball, where the damage is limited to a scarred helmet, rather than in real life, where the damage can be catastrophic and eternal.

Event No. 2, the British Open golf tournament that concluded Sunday, provided the perfect illustration for a lesson on self-control. At 59, Tom Watson missed becoming the oldest golfer to win the esteemed tournament when he left short an eight-foot putt on hole No. 18. Watson had made that putt ten thousand times before, but this time he missed and lost a four-hole playoff to Stewart Cink. In overtime, Watson’s game fell apart. On the third hole, he drove deep into the rough while Cink, who spoke afterward of his Christian faith as a steadying reality, salted away his first victory in a major tournament.

It was Watson’s calm demeanor over those final five holes that provided the lesson. After misfiring on one of the playoff holes, Watson strode calmly down the fairway, doffed his hat and smiled to the cheering gallery. When he missed the putt that would have clinched the win, there was no club throwing, no foul language, no fit of anger, only a slight grimace and a pained smile. In the end, Watson stood at Cink’s side, wearing a smile, graciously extolling his younger opponent before the media. Pure class. Real manhood.

Life in a fallen world is fraught with losing, for biblical Christianity is a perennial competition between two factions warring for supremacy over the human heart. God warns us about this reality early in His Word (Gen. 3:15a). All men fail on some level and even the most sanctified man will emerge from this war with scars from battles lost and battles won. My son must learn to deal with victory and defeat now.  I pray that these lessons will make clear his desperate need for the One Victorious Man, the One who won the war over sin and death and yes, even helmet throwing and glove kicking, once and for all (Rom. 5:19).

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Seven Lessons

From Mark Batterson:

I ask this question of other parents all the time: what is the greatest lesson you’ve learned as a parent? Would love to hear about some of the lessons you’ve learned at different stages of parenting. Nothing is more rewarding or more challenging than being a parent. We need to help each other out. I know it’s tough to boil it down to one thing. So feel free to share a few lessons learned.

Here are seven lessons I’ve learned:

1) Your greatest failures as a parent can turn into your greatest successes IF you simply apologize. You are modeling one of the toughest skills to learn: how to handle mistakes.

2) A great marriage is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids so focus on your marriage first and your kids second.

3) You create memories via engineering shared experiences. Be intentional about setting shared goals. Become a student of your kids. Learn to love what they love.

4) Parents are prophets. Don’t just use your authority to speak correction into their lives. Use your authority to speak encouragement into their lives. Otherwise you will become a prophet of doom.

5) We have a Heavenly Father who compensates for our parental weaknesses. So take a deep breath and relax a little. Even if you’re a single parent, you’re not alone. God will make up the difference!

6) One of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is time. A little one-on-one time opens channels of communication like nothing else. If you hang with them when they are young they’ll want to hang with you when you’re old.

7) If all else fails, teach your kids to say please, thank you, and sorry. Especially to God.

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From Zach Nielson, his response to a current issue:

We live in a pornified culture. So how do we raise sane, healthy children in this cesspool? What do you think?

My response:

1. Aim to give our kids a huge view of God who is gloriously delightful. We can’t simply tell our kids to stop doing certain behaviors, but we must also teach them to delight in what God has made. I have been trying to make a discipline out of pointing out all the good in God’s creation. This week while we have been on vacation it has been a blessing to watch my two older kids spending hours picking the wild raspberries that grow in Grandma and Grandpa’s huge back yard. They need to be reminded that God is so good to give us such amazing created blessings, such as raspberries! If we are not careful we can become functional Gnostics (flesh and matter is bad, only that which is “spiritual” has value) in our communication about ethics with our kids. 1 Tim. 4:4 is a good verse for them to memorize.

2. Teach them the gospel. Our kids are spring loaded to be default legalists. They have to see us model the truth of the gospel through active repentance and forgiveness. They have to know that their acceptance before God is not based on their performance, but on Christ’s performance. They have to know that their standing as a family member is not dependant on their obedience as if they could earn that status, but rather, their standing as a family member implies a certain type of living. For example, when we are discinpling our kids we often say, “Since you are a member of this family and since I love you so much, you will not do….”. This is far different than saying, “If you want me to love you and if you want to keep living in this house, you better stop doing…!” The indicatives of our faith HAVE to preceed the imperatives. If we reverse that order we’ll be in a heap of trouble.

3. Teach them that boundaries bring freedom and obedience is a blessing. One of the greatest means that I have observed in my sanctification is believing that obedience is a blessing. When I was a kid I thought that if I screwed up, God was going to whack me with a big stick. No one ever taught me this (that I can recall) but it’s simply what I gravitated towards. Obedience was not motivated by love, but rather by fear of punishment. This didn’t get me very far.

When my kids are age appropriate I plan to communicate the truth that sexual sin will never prove to bring freedom. They can choose to reap the harmful consequences of disobedience, but will warn them from God’s word and personal experience that they don’t want to go down that path.

4. Talk to them sooner than later about sex. Twenty-five years ago, when I was 8, I remember going next door to our neighbor’s back garage. As any curious kid would do, I liked to snoop around a bit. I soon discovered that he had boxes full of Playboy magazines. Sometimes a friend and I would sneak out there and grab a few of the magazines and go sit in the bushes and look at the naked women. Back then, that was a risky endeavor that filled my stomach with butterflies for fear of getting caught by my parents or the neighbor man, but today all you need is a closed door and an internet connection.

I’m not sure yet how this will go down, but I know I will need to help my kids know what is out there and why it is so destructive. Some would say that this will just serve to stir up their curiosity, but what is the alternative? I would rather have them be warned by me, so that I can give them reasons and means to fight it, than have them just stumble upon it someday on the internet.

5. Begin to train your kids on how to interact with the opposite sex. We have already started to “date” our two older kids. Once a month (on the number of the month of their birthday) we rotate taking them on dates. We feel that it is very important for them, at a very early age, to begin to experience what it looks like to be treated well by a member of the opposite sex. Especially for girls, having no healthy male attention from Dad will often lead them to seek it out in unhealthy ways from younger men who are more than willing to provide it. My boys need to learn that women are not objects to be consumed but that God will someday provide them a helpmate that they will have the opportunity to lay down their lives for through loving service.

6. Guard who your kids spend time with. Since sexual exposure is so much more accessible today than it was 25 years ago, we are much more aware of who are children spend time with. There will come an age (sooner than I want to think about) when we won’t be able to guard them as tightly, but hopefully the above points will have taken root in their lives so they will be able to make wise decisions.

7. Put Your Computer in a Public Place and Turn Off The T.V.
We don’t plan to let our kids spend unsupervised time on the computer and it will be limited. Certainly this will change as they get older, but again, hopefully by then, they will have tasted of the blessing of obedience and have interalized the gospel. Victory over porn is definitly a heart issue, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have structures in place to help us have victory over sin. Since all victory over sin is a heart issue, does that mean I should just place myself in dangerous situations all the time to prove the point? “I want to know that my obedience is motivated by more than just following the right rules, so I am going to dive into unwise situations that could lead to sin, just to see if I am strong enough to withstand it!” That is absurd. We need right hearts so as to not be legalists, but right boundaries can help us experience God’s blessing of obedience.

The T.V. will show your kids functional soft porn all the time. There are so many better things to do with your kids than watch T.V. Read with them, play sports with them, experience creation with them, tell them a story, or just serve them in an activity that they dictate. The key phrase here is “with them”. If they spend more time with the T.V. than they do with you as a parent, you know you are in trouble.

8. Seek to cultivate a relationship with your kids such that they feel as though they can be open with you about anything. As a young Dad, I am not totally sure how to pull this one off, but I know that it will come through modeling this kind of openness with them. I will seek to draw out their hearts and show them that if they are honest with me, Dad will be fair, loving and offer a listening ear to them. I will need to initiate honest discussion with them and take risks of communication with them. If they see me as guarded and reserved why would I expect them to be any different?

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Experiences Over Stuff


My wife and I decided last Christmas to make a shift in how we do gifts with our kids. Carrie and I settled on age 10 as the turning point. We discussed the fact that most of the stuff (junk) that we buy only gets used for a short amount of time and then it just occupies space. Last Christmas we decided to try something new with our oldest son. We decided that intentional experiences will have far greater impact than just stuff. The experience allows for intentional family time (father/son, mother daughter, etc.) and makes memories that last a lifetime. Preston and I spent a weekend watching a Duke game in Cameron and a Carolina game in the Dean Dome. I outlined a number of topics that I wanted to discuss with him and I must say it made for great conversation. Preston’s birthday was Tuesday and we decided to take him to Kings Island for two days of roller coaster riding and other amusement and water park fun. We gave him a map of the park at his birthday party and he is so fired up he can’t hardly stand it. In just one trip, I was converted. Experiences win over stuff in my book every time. It doesn’t have to be extravagant but it must be viewed as a big deal. Start saving up and planning some intentional experiences with your kids. It will be worth every dime you spend. Just make sure that the experience also involves some intentional conversation. Happy Experience Planning. I am heading to the store to buy dramamine for the trip!

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