Thursday, February 3, 2011

C'mon Dads! Humor your kids.

Came across this VW commercial today, which will apparently be airing during the Super Bowl, and I had to share it.

Dads, humor your kids. Play along with them. Encourage their imagination. Just don't run them over with your car.

Tell me...
What are your kids into?
Do you share a hobby or fascination with them?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: Radical by David Platt

Radical is a difficult book to read. David Platt sets out in this book to turn the hearts of American's from their selfish pursuits to the needs of the hurting and lost people groups around the world. Along the way he makes a host of excellent points, but they are overshadowed by his selective use of scripture and poor logic.

I was tracking with the author until about Chapter 4. Up to that point I thought he was doing a good job of bringing me along side of him, taking me step by step to the point where his heart is today. I applaud him for that. The tone was not preachy and the prose were engaging. But it's his response to the question, "What about the needs here?" that lost me (pages 75 and following).

Here he makes the point, with exceedingly poor logic, that if we only have a heart for the United States (and seek to serve the people in our own back yard and within our borders) then we only share 5% of God's heart. God has a heart for the entire world. (I'll agree with that. John 3:16 makes that plainly clear.) But Platt's explanation for why we can't stop in the United States is terribly weak.

He goes on to give examples from members of his congregation ("faith family") who are embracing "a greater dream." Each of them is doing consistent, gospel-centered service in their communities, oh and they spend a week or two a year in another country serving. The impression he gives is that each of them have a heart for a people group overseas, but isn't that the same as having a heart for people in the poor neighborhoods of your hometown? Are we to give more importance to the people of Sri Lanka simply because they live in another country? Don't the gang bangers of the United States need Jesus as much as the orphans of Nigeria? Are the single mom's of our communities in less need of a savior than the single mom's of third world countries?

Platt bangs the drum of "all nations" (Matthew 28:19), but never mentions Acts 1:8 where Jesus tells his disciples they will share the good news beginning in Jerusalem and spreading out from there.

Some positives 
He does make some good points about discipleship in Chapter 5. And the closing chapters have some practical thoughts on how we can turn our hearts towards the needs of others. When is challenging people to read their bibles, prayer for others and make sacrifices for greater needs ever a bad thing? 

Some other negatives 
Platt takes a few pot shots in this book. He calls out video venue churches as being shallow. And takes an indirect jab at Joel Osteen (while it's well deserved it didn't seem necessary). So in this respect I think he painted with too broad a brush at times.

His thoughts seemed rather scattered to me. One chapter didn't necessarily follow another. Again, I think he offered some good points in the book, but they were too varied to try to follow his line of thinking from one chapter to the next.

One annoying aspect was how scripture was quoted throughout the book. Most often references to scripture were directed to footnotes which were tucked away at the back of the book. I quickly lost interest in flipping to the back to see which passages he was alluding to.

Closing thoughts
In the end I feel like Platt wrote this book before he had given time for all of his thoughts to come together. It seems like he's simply struggling to minister to an affluent congregation while maintaining a proper perspective on the needs of others around the world. It sounds like some things are taking root with his congregation, but I don't know that it necessarily translates to a larger audience just yet. 

To me, Radical is simply over-hyped.
Father Fan Man Review Disclosure: The featured product for this review was provided to me, at no cost, by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the sole purpose of product testing. I do not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products. All opinions expressed are my own.

Family Discipleship

My Lil' Man is studying Genesis. We're going through Beginning with God: Book 1, which is a great companion to The Beginner's Bible. He has memorized Genesis 1:1 and this week he's learning Genesis 1:27.

I'm so proud of him. He loves to pray and loves reciting his memory verse. It's fun for my wife and I to plan these little devotions and listen to Lil' Man respond to our questions. He's starting to get some of the big ideas of the Bible.

Tell me..
What are you doing with your children to disciple them?
Do you do a family devotion or do you do something specific for your children?
Do you do memory verses with your kids? How do you pick age-appropriate verses?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Proper Perspective and Two Brothers with Swords

Trying to get back in the swing of things here. Had a busier than usual past week or so, but let's get back to it.

An interesting point was made a few weeks back at the men's bible study I attend. We're studying men of the Old Testament. The teacher began his examination of Adam by saying that none of the men we will study are perfect. Only one man in the whole of human history was perfect and that man is the Savior of all mankind–Jesus Christ. He said each of these men are regular guys. They are flawed just as we are flawed. They made mistakes just as we make mistakes. But we have hindsight's perspective and hindsight is always 20/20, so in this bible study we are seeking to learn from the strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures of each man we study.

It's a valid point to remember as we read through the Bible. None of these men are to be put on a pedestal. Yes, God chose them as servants and some did great things, but he's also called us to be his servants. He's called you and me to follow the example of Christ and to submit our will to his. We are capable, just as Abraham and Moses, of doing great things for God.

So as we read on let's just consider the men we encounter like the guys at the office. Let's think of the women as our wive's girlfriends. Regular people, but people who were called by God to do extraordinary things in his name and for his name sake.

Genesis 34
So Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, decides to pack a lunch, venture out and make some friends. So apparently she is by herself and the prince over the area took notice of her and raped her. But instead of being casted aside he loves her and longs for her.

News of this makes makes way to her eleven brothers who become enraged. They weren't going to have anything to do with the people of Shechem, nor their offer to marry each other's daughters.

Strangely Jacob is silent during this exchange. He doesn't respond when an offer is made and he doesn't step in when his sons seem to be negotiating with Shechem and Hamor. Surely the right thing to do would have been to refuse any offer made for Dinah and possibly even ask for a price in return for defiling her. But Jacob does neither. He let's his sons do the talking.

They call for the circumcision of all of Hamor's men in exchange for their women and when they men were sore from their "procedure" and vulnerable two of the brothers take out all of the men of the city.

Jacob is none to pleased with the actions of his sons Simeon and Levi. Realizing he doesn't have the man power to withstand Hamor's possible vengeance he scolds them. To which his son's respond, "What were we supposed to do Dad!?!? They defiled our only sister and you weren't going to do anything!"

Once again Jacob fails to take the reins of leadership over his family. He doesn't take proper precautions to guard his only daughters chastity. He doesn't stand up for her when she is taken advantage of. And he doesn't direct his sons in a proper response.

I don't have a daughter. Maybe some day God will bless my wife and I with one. And if he did she would be my responsibility. Not my sons'. I would be responsible for ensuring her purity. It would be up to me to set boundaries for her to protect her. And if something happened to her I would be the one who would determine the proper response.

Jacob in this case shows no leadership over his children and seems to show more anger to his sons for their retaliation than to Shechem for his misdeeds. It's rather disheartening, but again Jacob is a regular guy so let's consider what lessons we fathers can learn from him.

Tell me...
What boundaries have you set in your household for your sons and daughters?
When someone mistreats a member of your family does your children know what the proper response will be? Do they know who will/should respond? Do they know how you will respond?


Someone Famous Once Said...

"If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated,
let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does
in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right."

-- Bill Cosby