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Today is a momentous day. My two youngest, Pooh (6) and Tigger (5), both culminated their transition to two-wheeler-hood: they are riding bicycles without training wheels.
We capped this day after dinner with our very first all-family bike ride in the neighborhood. They are getting so big and time is ticking away (…enter bump music from dcTalk…)
Riding bikes, wiggly teeth and the fading of the remnants of “baby talk”, they are growing up fast. Our baby will be six this year, Rabbit is ten. There is only limited time to invest in their lives now, before they begin their own families, have their own children and teach them to ride two-wheelers.
If that is all that life is, then we should “…eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” If the good life is nothing more than a Hallmark card with the soft, hazy picture and some sentimental hogwash on the inside it is not worth it. Don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with my children doing fun things like teaching them to ride bikes, play chess or dribble left-handed. But if that is all of the legacy there is to life – teaching them manners, sharing some “warm, fuzzy” experiences and perfecting their jump shot – then that is not enough.
Life is hard. The Dread Pirate Roberts was correct, “Life is pain…and if anyone tells you differently then they are selling you something.” Without an ultimate purpose, why go on? Ah, despair, right?
Without purpose: despair; with purpose, and living out of it: joy.
So, what is the purpose of life?
“The chief end [purpose] of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q/A One.
In this short time I have with my children, I am to invest my time not only in training them to glorify and enjoy God, but doing it myself. Using all of life to disciple them, so that the purpose is both “caught” and “taught.”
The training wheels of the bikes are all off now, but the training wheels of their lives are still firmly in place. They are there for both guidance and protection.
I don’t want to extend the metaphor too far, but call one side “Law” and the other “Gospel.” Along the way, we train them by teaching them the Law of God (also the fact that no one can perfectly keep it and the consequences of not keeping it) as well as the Gospel of Christ (literally “good news”): Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient, keeping the entire Law to the point of death on a roman cross, the innocent willingly paying the penalty of the law-breaker and then being raised to life on the third day removing the sting of death for all who repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a process, though. First they ride safely in the driveway on the bike with the training wheels, then the wheels come off and they are stretched to apply their training (knowledge and experience) with dad firmly holding on to them and finally they ride on their own – eventually into the cruel world, busy streets and all – taking them places where they have never gone before now having unconsciously mastered what was once consciously difficult.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13,14 (ESV)
Oh, I pray that obedience and discipline will one day be unconsciously mastered by them. But, since I am still struggling on my own wobbly ride, I am beginning to understand a little more about the guarantee given to me and longing a little more for Glory.
My prayer is not that they never have difficulty or even that they never suffer, but that the do all things well (including suffering). My prayer is that they, with their whole lives, “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Friday evening, April 18, 2008, I took my wife to see Caedmon’s Call live in concert at Grace UMC in Kokomo, In (my hometown). I have been a fan since they released their self-titled album “Caedmon’s Call” in 1997 and have every studio release since.
I came to hear the band Before There Was Time to understand their lyrics; truly the music grabs your attentions, but There You Go, it is the lyrics that give you Hope to Carry On.
Musically, the band’s sound is folksy-pop with smooth harmonies and a kick of rock. (Think Simon & Garfunkel’s “Concert in the Park” performing with a miltia of musicians by the likes of Carole King, Jimmi Hendrix, John Bonham and Neil Peart (at the same time, no less)! This may sound like Trouble, but let me tell you…”This World has nothing…” on these talented musicians.
Become infatuated with the music, but fall deeply in love with their lyrics. Their work is poetic, reformed theology the magnifies the great, Creator, Sustainer and Lover far above the daily grind of everyday. Be Thankful for the true, relevant juxtaposition of our earthen frame with that of the magnificent God; There’s Only One (Holy One) and we are sovereignly formed in the Hands of the Potter to bear the image of Christ. Listen to the words and you will know not only hear Who You Are, but also that There is a Reason for why and how you are.
I have been anticipating this event since hearing (three months ago) they would be playing near me. I had never previously seen them in concert; this was my chance. I don’t get to many concerts; my last one was Audio Adrenaline/Mercy Me over one year ago.
Arriving at the church, I noticed quite the variety of concert-goers: I saw elderly women, a bus-load of junior-high youths as well as the expected twenty- and thirty-somethings. I thought maybe we had the incorrect venue or night based on the attendance.
The $12 general admission tickets were an unexpected blessing. The concert went for about three hours and the band played over 25 songs in this small venue (I would guess less than 500 seats max); it felt as if they were playing in my living room. This has to be the best ticket – not just in town – but ANYWHERE; the value (quality and quantity) far excelled the cost or expectations. I would have traded my 40 Acres for these tickets!
Derek Webb, a modern prophet, afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted with his tongue-in-cheek satirical in-your-face style. Nothing was off limits (as expected): fundamentalism, politics, social justice, idolatry, politics, love and hope. It was a fabulous set of songs to Prepare Ye the Way of our hearts to the LORD and our ears to Caedmon’s Call.
Cliff Young, a bare-footed and cap-less Warrior of righteousness, lead the Church (that is, capital “C”) present in worship of the God of Wonders.
Did I mention there were two drummers? There is nothing like double percussion to get you juices flowing and worship the God of The Danse.
The absolute highlight for me had to be the performance of “Hands of the Potter” and “Thankful.” I am so thankful that my redemption and righteousness are not in my hands, that “nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the Cross I cling.” I praise the LORD that there is a reason for why/when/how/what things happen, and that I am in the loving and careful hands of the potter who will do with me what he will to conform me more the the image of His Son.
What began in my mind as a “concert” has become not just a worship experience that evening, but continues to roll through my mind these days following.
Jesus Christ is worthy of our worship.
Sola Scriptura | Sola Fide | Sola Gratia | Sola Christus | Soli Deo Gloria
This is a favorite of my kids…
In an age where boys sit on the couch, play video games and eat crap, this book is a breath of fresh air. Literally, boys will go outside. This book is so dangerous because it lets boys be boys, not the mamby-pamby, effeminate, androgynous version of what our politically-correct culture foists on us.
I purchased A Dangerous Book for Boys last week for my son…and I. This is going to be a fun summer!
I pray that this will be a summer of bruised knees, courage, and exploration.
Strategy, negotiation, resource allocation, intrigue…it has it all!
It can take as long as Risk and Monopoly (I guess), but it hasn’t in my experience. One cool aspect of the game is that the board is unique each time it is played!
I have never played one of the “Sim” games, but I imagine it is a board-game version of that genre.
Check it out!
(BTW: for alternate or shorter versions of Monopoly, check out Seth’s page here.)
Another lo-fi game we like to play with our children is called “Pass the Pigs.” It is like playing craps with swine! It forces them to do addition quickly in their heads, and it is buckets ‘o fun.
Titus2Talk has a very funny/true post about the change in parents/parenting with the addition of each additional child to the mix.
Nature/nurture debaters listen up: anyone who tells you that the nurture environment within a family is the same for all children, read this!
Let me assure you, Tigger makes herself known.
Peyton Manning can’t win the big games. (CHECK vs. KC, Baltimore, NE & Chicago.) Peyton Manning (like Marino) is one of the best quarterbacks to never win the Superbowl. (Monkey jettisoned.) We’ll get’em next year. (Maybe, since we are beginning the next dynasty). The Colts have a good offense, but they have one of the worst defenses (especially against the run) in all of the NFL. (See highlights from any post-season game.) “Dome” teams don’t play well in Superbowls. (Huh?) “Dome” teams don’t play well in incliment weather. (Did any notice how much it rained during XLI?)
Superbowl XLI Game Stats here.
This from Google Trends:
The above graph shows the volume of search traffic and news reference of the term “Colts” (in blue…of course) and the term “Bears” (in orange…go figure).
Is this just the difference between a “small market” team (re: Indianapolis Colts) and a “large market” team (re: Chicago Bears)?