“We’re going on an Adventure”



Children are notorious for calling it the way they see it, literally. Though they can role-play all kinds of imaginary figures, their imagination is grounded in concrete terms. I was startled recently by what one of my grandsons asked me. I’ll set it up for you.

Ever since Joseph (now 6) and Gabriel (now 5) were able to walk I would take them on “an adventure.” Using language of anticipation, awe, and excitement, I would take them on an adventure into the woods or some other place where I could fascinate their minds and senses. Over time they came to frequently ask with wide eyes, “grandpa take us on another adventure.”

A few weeks ago we were in West Virginia visiting my mom; Joey and Ashley were with us, and their three boys. It was time to go on an adventure on my dad’s four wheeler. I decided to show the boys my most favorite spot: directly behind my parents home through the woods, about a half mile, is what has come to be known as Pirates Cove on Summersville Lake. I first saw this sight when I was seven; my uncle Benny brought me to this cliff and I was mesmerized by the beauty, and the height. So, with excitement and anticipation in my voice, I began telling the boys as we headed out that I was going to give them a great adventure into the woods four-wheeling to “one of the most beautiful places that you’ll ever see.”

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We got as close as we could to the cliff, parked the four wheeler and began the final 100 yard walk through the woods to this majestic edge that overlooks the lake. Getting closer to where you could just barely see blue sky through the leaves, I stopped and got down on the boys eye level and asked with excitement, “What do you hear?” Gabriel and Joseph both said, “I hear people laughing.” I responded, “That is right.” This cove is famous for cliff diving, photo-ops, and hanging out on boats, anchors away! But then I asked, “What else do you hear?” Joseph spoke up like he discovered a secret treasure, “I hear water.” It’s a beautiful sound to hear in the thick of the woods as the water from the streams flow over one of the cliffs, splashing 60 feet down onto the blue water. About this time the boys were completely and fully alert for something spectacular. “Are you ready to see something wonderful?,” I asked. They both just stood there grinning from ear to ear shaking their heads up and down with approval. I stood up and we began the last 30 yards or so. Then, Gabriel grabbed my arm and stopped me and said . . .

Remember what I said about a child’s ability to concretely, literally, say it like they see it? What came out of his mouth made me speechless. With eyes now wider than ever and with the kind of joyful anticipation that only a person would express when you really believe that you’re about to come into something truly breath-taking, he said, “Are we going to see your dad?!?!?”

Joseph’s eyes and mouth opened even wider now. My eyes filled with water and I was stunned into silence and amazement that Gabriel thought I was taking them into heaven to see my dad. They knew something was strangely odd about the sounds and sights ahead, and for Gabriel, the only natural thing that could explain the echoing of water and laughter was heaven, and the sight of my dad, their great grandpa.

The only natural explanation for the desire of eternal life that you feel deep inside of you is that heaven is real because Jesus is real. I’ll never forget this time with my grandsons and I’ll never let them forget it. The greatest adventure is ahead of us . . . as Jesus said, where nothing can ever steal our joy again (Matthew 6:19-21).

What did I say to Gabriel’s question that was filled with excitement and hope?

Taking a deep breath as if now this rock cliff and lake will not measure up,

“Not yet – not today.”

Would the Queen have given consent if Prince Harry wanted to marry Prince George?

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The Instrument of Consent reads:

“NOW KNOW YE that We have consented and do by these Presents signify Our Consent to the contracting of Matrimony between Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, K.C.V.O., and Rachel Meghan Markle.”

And the Bishop Michael Bruce Curry of Chicago, IL, who will give the address, has said,

“The love that have brought and will bind Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle together has its source and origin in God, and is the key to life and happiness . . . and so we celebrate and pray for them today.”

CBS News reports it like this:

“Buckingham Palace has released an image of the handwritten document in which Queen Elizabeth II gives her consent for Prince Harry to marry Meghan Markle. The Instrument of Consent image was released Saturday – a week before Harry is to marry the American actress at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.

The document, illuminated on vellum, features a design to the left of the text that incorporates a red dragon, the symbol of Wales. The design to the right features a rose, the national flower of the United States.

Under British law, the first six people in the line of succession to the throne must obtain the queen’s permission to wed.

Harry was fifth in line when he and Markle got engaged. He was bumped to sixth with the birth of his brother’s son Prince Louis last month.”

I don’t know what the queen would or would not have done if Prince Harry wanted to marry a man. I do know that the progressive culture of the UK would have approved of a man wedding a man – but what about the royal family? It’s a fair question to ask since the world will be watching with joy and awe at such a majestic display of the union of a man and a woman. I just wonder if the world would have the same holy reverence and humbled awe if Harry were to marry George? Would the Buckingham Palace and St. George’s Chapel in Windsor have graced and blessed the union of Harry to George? Or would these halls and chambers require more? I don’t know . . . but it’s still a fair question to ask in this age of confusion of what a marriage is and who is the author of marriage and what is the purpose of marriage.

Since the Bishop Bruce Curry of Chicago, Il. is on record for stating that this marriage has its origin in God, will the Bishop actually read the Words of God that speak to what a marriage is: the complementarian union between Christ and the Church, a male and female wedded in both body and soul that displays the original? I don’t know if he will or not, but it’s a fair question to ask.

I do know this: come May 19, 2018 the world will celebrate a mystery:

“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church'” (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31, 32).

That is, when Harry marries Meghan the world will witness with inner knowledge and consent that this is right. Why? Because Jesus married his wife, the church (all true lovers of Christ). What I don’t know is this, if the world would have witnessed a “profound mystery” had Harry wanted to marry George? Is it possible that since such dignity and royal majesty befits the crown of a male Prince wedded to a female Princess, then maybe this is why we know deep inside that not only the Queen, but we as the human race reserve marriage between a man and women, if it’s the Prince! And if the Prince, then why not all mankind? Or do we dethrone marriage for the progressive peasants?

It seems that we hold royalty to a high standard of dignity and propriety. As it should be. We want more character, not less. But why stop there – surely this auspicious occasion should at least in principle be duplicated? Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, contracted not by man, but by God who made man in his own image: “What therefore God has joined, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9), says King Jesus.

May God bless you Harry and Meghan with life-long joy and perseverance as you become one flesh.



What Makes A Christian?

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Here are the words (transcript) of John Piper’s opening to his sermon at the Together For the Gospel (T4G link above) conference, and it is true: the real acid test of what is a real Christian, is the affections of the heart for Jesus Christ. If you don’t prove with your life that you love Jesus, then you are not a Christian, no matter how much you go to church, give, have been baptized, or even read or own bibles. Real Christians love and follow Jesus because they cannot resist the overwhelming desire to love and follow Jesus. That IS! the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Here’s Piper’s words:

“The most basic, most essential distinction between a Christian and a non-Christian is not new decisions of the will, not new deeds of the hands, not new doctrines in the mind, but a new delight in the heart. That’s my thesis. I’ll say it again. The most basic distinction between the body of Christ and the world is not godly decisions, not good deeds, not genuine doctrines, but glad delights in the glory of God, the beauty of God, the excellence of God, the holy majesty of God, the marvelous mercies of God — the person of God as revealed in Jesus Christ supremely.

The world is perfectly able to use its willpower to make decisions for Jesus. Judas certainly did for three years, all the while being a lover of money and a thief, while willing to follow Jesus all day every day. Secular philanthropists do good deeds. “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3).

The devil himself knows more right doctrine to be true than anyone in this room. But neither the devil nor secular philanthropists nor the whole unbelieving world does or can delight in the glory of God supremely.”

Incivility is on the Rise! Just go to a little league game and you’ll see, and hear.


Humans are becoming a less civilized people. Jesus said this would happen as it gets closer to his return: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). And the reason why lawlessness will increase is because, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men . . . For this reason God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:18, 28). As time rolls on, humanity is getting uglier because God’s restraining hand is letting us go our own way.

For example, the metal placard attached to a baseball batting cage across the street from where I live reveals what is going on the hearts of parents of little children:

  1. “These Are Kids” says the sign. That’s because what is going on in the hearts of parents in their 30’s and early 40’s is this: “that boy on first base is my son . . . he’s better than your son . . . I will not tolerate any down-sizing of his immaculate place on the field or I will cuss you out!!!!!! My son’s exaltation is the means to my chest-beating . . . which means I, yes I, ME, ME MEMEMEMEME – is better than any of you dads. Just look at my 2018 Camaro parked over there . . .”
  2. “This is a Game” says the sign. That’s because what is going on in the hearts of these parents is life and death. “This is not a game . . . this is my community reputation on the line . . . this is a means-to-an-end: and the end game is public praise and approval of ME.”
  3. “The Coaches Volunteer” says the sign. That’s because what is going on in the hearts of parents is, “I swear, if he does not play my daughter in the next inning I’m going to pull my companies support to purchase next year’s jerseys and I’m going to secretly call a meeting with the other parents to have him fired from his volunteer job.”
  4. “The Umpires are Human” says the sign. That’s because what is really going on in the hearts of parents and is coming out of their mouths is, “You ^**%#$&* piece of %&*%$@#@. Why don’t you put your *^#&()^!^* glasses on and do your (&$@*))&^ JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

As summer sports gets going, and you happen to be a parent of a child who plays and competes, guard your heart from the escalating incivility that is all around us, from social media to the baseball field.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” – Eph. 4:29

If you are a parent who loves the Lord and a nasty verbal shouting match takes place right there in the middle of the game between a parent and an umpire, (and you’ll have to prepare your child for this in advance that this is what you’re going to do if this happens), publicly walk on to the field, take your child by the hand and walk out of the game, off the field, into the car and drive away, in front of everyone! Show that you will not tolerate the incivility of adults speaking that way and acting that way in front of your child. If no one else joins you, so be it. Do the right thing: #IWILLNOTTOLERATEINCIVILITY





“Be Kind to Yourself.” Is this sound advice?

Listen to Andrew Peterson sing this to his daughter, then come back and let’s talk about his advice.


I’m skeptical of any advice that seems to present God’s Word as a self-help book, full of anecdotes that appeal to man becoming his own soul-physician. But Peterson’s lyrics helped me to see something that I’ve always struggled to find perspective: how to encourage someone out of the self-condemning and self-loathing words that a teenager is using against herself. Simply, I would never have thought to say, “be kind to yourself.” This gentle father at the piano is not helping his daughter by appealing to her self worth, but his promise to love her no matter what. His counsel is this: Be kind to yourself by reminding yourself of my love for you. Put away your self-hatred and injurious words that you tell yourself and believe that I love you.

It’s a given, says Jesus, that we already have a certain kind of healthy self-regard. “. . . love your neighbor as yourself.” To consider the need of another and meet that need is premised on one’s own consideration of your person. Our ability to love others is dependent upon how we regard ourselves. If poorly, then my ability to love someone is nearly impossible – for I’m locked up in my own world of self-pity and self-hatred, unable to free myself from an unrealistic pedestal of ME; I have let ME down. But if I know myself as someone who is deeply loved by my father and mother, for example, then my ability to move toward the need of another is facilitated by my own healthy regard for myself.

Peterson is therefore giving sound advice. Stop being mean and hateful to yourself by spending more time reminding yourself of the great promises of the Lord> “there is therefore now no condemnation – no matter what I’ve done to disappoint others” > “I am crucified with Christ . . . and the life that I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” > “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion unto the day of Jesus Christ – and that means all the heart-breaking things that tempt me to despair of myself, Jesus has not given up on his plan to reshape me into his image.” That’s what Peterson is advising: Use the truths of scripture to defeat this war that is against you against you against you.

This is not secular self-help motivation. This is the way any parent would want their child to put an end to self-condemnation language. “Remind yourself how much I love you when you feel so horrible about yourself. The hurtful things that you’re telling yourself are unkind words – no one should hear those words, especially you.”

Parents, Satan wants your child to hate herself. Satan wants your child to turn on herself as if she is the enemy. But as Peterson reminds us, you have to learn to love your enemies too! Parents, see to it that your child knows that you love her no matter what. And parents, while you’re at it, you also be kind to yourself when you feel horrible about your own failures as a parent and feel like you can’t face your children. If you are in Christ, then you have a Father in heaven who loves you like his own son. Tomorrow is another day of grace and mercy. Get up . . . look up . . . and with the love of Christ, go love your child.

One of My Favorite quotes of Charles Spurgeon

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Charles Spurgeon – 1834-1892

“When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul – when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, “How did you come to be a Christian?” I sought the Lord. “But how did you come to seek the Lord?” The truth flashed across my mind in a moment – I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then asked myself, “How came I to pray?” I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. “How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so?” Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.” I know nothing, nothing again that is more humbling than this doctrine of election. I have sometimes fallen prostrate before it when endeavoring to understand it. But, when I came near it, and the one thought possessed me – ‘God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation’ – I was staggered with the mighty thought; and from the dizzy elevation down came my soul, prostrate and broken, saying, ‘Lord,  I am nothing, I am less than nothing. Why me? Why me?”


“His Heart Beats” – by Andrew Peterson

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not a theory: it’s either the most successful lie ever promoted or it’s the truth. For those who punched their Easter time-card a couple weeks ago and have moved on to better things for another year – I grieve for you. I cannot imagine what it means to have no more hope than this life with its empty promises of power, fame, and fortune. I am so thankful that after three days of stone-cold silence, the very physical heart of Jesus began to beat again – and to this day it still does. This gives me my only sure hope for this life and the one to come. I think we’ll sing this in worship soon . . .

His heart beats, His blood begins to flow
Waking up what was dead a moment ago
And His heart beats, now everything is changed
‘Cause the blood that brought us peace with God
Is racing through His veins
And His heart beats
His heart beats

He breathes in, His living lungs expand
The heavy air surrounding death turns to breath again
He breathes out, He is word and flesh once more
The Lamb of God slain for us is a Lion ready to roar
And His heart beats

So crown Him the Lord of Life
Crown Him the Lord of Love
Crown Him the Lord of All

He took one breath
And put death to death
Where is your sting, O grave?
How grave is your defeat
I know, I know His heart beats

He rises, glorified in flesh
Clothed in immortality, the firstborn from the dead
He rises, and His work’s already done
So He’s resting as He rises to reclaim the Bride He won
And His heart beats

So crown Him the Lord of Life
Crown Him the Lord of Love
Crown Him the Lord of All

He took one breath
And put death to death
Where is your sting, O grave?
How grave is your defeat
I know, I know His heart beats

The last enemy to be destroyed is death
The last enemy to be destroyed is death
He must reign until no enemy is left
The last enemy to be destroyed, to be destroyed is death

His heart beats, He will never die again
I know that death no longer has dominion over Him
So my heart beats with the rhythm of the saints
As I look for the seeds the King has sown
To burst up from their graves

I know, I know
He took one breath
And put death to death
Where is your sting, O grave?
How grave is your defeat
I know, I know
He took one breath
And put death to death
Where is your sting, O grave?
How grave is your defeat
How great, how great is His victory
I know, I know His heart beats
I know, I know His heart beats
His heart beats