Many years ago, I read of a father who relocated his family to ensure that his children grew up under the godly influence of his own dad. Apparently, work commitments had caused his father to move interstate and he decided it was better for the family to pull up roots and move, too.
It was a big decision, but he explained that the benefits of his father's unconditional love and support and the instilling of his wisdom and experience into the lives of his children far outweighed the inconvenience of moving.
As I read that story years ago, I prayed that when I reached that stage of my life I, too, would be able to provide a hard-wrought wisdom, a powerful testimony of faith and a stabilising connection with the past for my future grandchildren.
Today's grandparents are a far cry from the image of the homely grandma knitting gently in her rocking chair while granddad happily potters in the warmth of his backyard veggie garden. Today's gran may be a successful career woman just reaching the peak of her game and granddad has taken up abseiling. Yes, modern families may be more complicated but most grandparents still want to be an integral part of the lives of their grandchildren.
Many grandparents have pushed retirement aside and increasingly taken on regular care-giving roles in families.They are 'grand-parents' in every sense of the word as they take on these parenting roles after families fracture for a host of reasons.
The figures show that while half of all Australian children under 12 received childcare of some form last year, just 24% were in formal care, compared with 26% who were cared for by their grandparents.There are also more than 14,000 grandparent families in which the grandparents are the guardians or main carers of co-resident children aged 0 to 17 years.
While the previous mobile generation living in different states, regions and even countries were separated from grandparents and struggled to maintain family connection, today's families appear to have rediscovered the value and support of close, involved grandparents.
Many have established a multi-generational family approach to raising kids with grandparents as providers, mentors, teachers, nurturers.. providing a spiritual rock during hard times. For grandparents, it's the opportunity to teach important values, establish Biblical foundations and pass on family traditions to their grandchildren.
How appropriate then, this Sunday on Grandparents Day, to be able to celebrate the rich and living heritage of loving grandparents who provide a powerful testimony of God's faithfulness in the lives of their families.
I've always enjoyed sport- been reasonably good at it, too. I would be loathe to rate it as an obsession but I am Australian, after all. It's been said that 'few countries use sport to measure national achievement quite like Australians'. We are passionate about winning gold!
Sport is everywhere, whether it's couples out jogging, cheering parents on the sidelines of soccer games, early morning cyclists chewing up the miles, men and women packing a gym session into their lunch break or solitary surfers astride their boards at dawn. Yes, sport is everything and everywhere.
So it goes without saying that our sporting heroes, those whose achievements on the sports field have been crowned with success, feature prominently in news reports, magazines and media.
It's been disquieting to notice that, increasingly, the news reports feature these 'heroes' off-field where their attitudes, character and morals decidedly 'miss the mark'. Are these the types of men and women we want our youth to emulate?
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love. 2 Peter 1:5-7
I was feeling discouraged and disappointed watching such reports as our church presented our recent special family events - the father/son wild game dinner and the mother/daughter high tea. But, slipped between the full-colour, big headline articles, I read of professional golfer, Hunter Mahan. Mahan was leading in the Canadian Open, which pays its winner more than $1 million, when he received word that his wife had gone into labour 3 weeks early. He had a choice- money and fame or family. His decision?
Mahan put the lure of fame and glory behind, pulled out of the competition and flew to Dallas for the birth of his baby. He commented later, "When I'm done playing golf, I'd rather be noted for being a good husband and good father than anything else."
These are the sporting highlights that kids and their families need to hear. These are the attitudes and qualities we want displayed by our heroes in every sporting arena. Bring on more reports like this one. Bring on more sporting heroes with prowess both in sport and in determining the things that really matter.
The devastating tornado in Oklahoma and the magnitude of this disaster has generated world-wide attention. Even here on the Gold Coast, it has received front-page newspaper coverage. Our thoughts and prayers are with this community as they deal with the heart-breaking destruction and loss.
The Skit Guys have responded to this tragedy with the offer of a free clip, 'The Storms of Life', in the hope that you can download and use this to encourage discussion about this and other tragedies. (see below)
"We hope that your church community will remember ours. Remember that there’s a community aching. Remember there’s a lot to rebuild––both homes and hearts. Please keep OK in your prayers today and in the weeks to come.' Skit Guys
In Australia, natural disasters are common: drought, cyclones, fire, floods. The predictability of these disasters has been immortalized in the imagery of our poetry and literature, but are you and your church leadership team prepared for it? Can your small group, or you as an individual, comfort families and children and help them cope with disaster?
There are a number of points to keep in mind for children:
1. Children need physical reassurance. They need to be with their family to feel safe. Keep in mind that displaced children will require even more physical comforting.
2. Children need to talk. Listen to them. They need to know others understand and share their worries and concerns.
3. Talk honestly.... but don't scare them. Share worries in an age-appropriate manner.
4. Remain as calm as possible. Maintain normal routines as much as you are able.
5. Expect regressive behaviour. Generally, such behaviours will fade over time.
More helpful information can be found from the following resources:
Just a quick update from the Australian Marriage Forum:
Thank you for participating in the campaign. This week’s decisive votes in the Parliament of Australia defeating same-sex marriage are a huge win.
First the House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 98-42 followed by the Senate yesterday 41-26. Please do not underestimate the power you have as concerned Australians to thank and encourage the parliamentarians who voted to uphold marriage.
Read more here….
The world's attention, this week, has been firmly focussed on London and the inspirational stories of Olympic victories; the triumph, and sometimes the despair, of athletes as they strive to overcome personal hurdles and challenges. This international event opens up wonderful opportunities for discussion with your children and I've included some suggestions below. Remember that other helpful articles and ideas are regularly added to our TweedKids website (and Facebook page).
Faithfulness: Watch the Olympic events together, and talk about athletes that are faithful to God. Share the stories of some of the Christian athletes. Look for more stories at: http://beyondtheultimate.org
Sanya Richards-Ross, a Christian athlete who may be the fastest female runner in the world, is representing the United States for a second time in the 2012 Olympics. Sanya became a Christian when she was 12 years old. She desires to be faithful to God and she recently committed to reading through the entire Bible. One verse she says frequently to herself is, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
She says that her faith encourages her to give her best. She says, "I know that my talent is God's gift to me, and how I use it is my gift to Him."
Ask: What do you think athletes need to do to compete in the Olympics? (Talent, work hard, and to stick with it even when they don't feel like it)
Many Olympic athletes practice all day every day so they will be ready to compete. They give their best to win a medal. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Why do athletes run or compete? (To get a prize that will eventually fade away)
What qualities do athletes need to win? (Self-control, determination, willingness to practice and work hard, etc.)
What do we need as we live for Jesus? (Self-control, determination to do what is right, faithfulness to follow Him, etc.)
Paul says we should run the Christian life with the same determination and self-control an athlete has when he or she competes for a medal that fades away. We will receive a reward from God some day if we are faithful to do what He has asked us to do.
from SPLINK resources - HOME CONNECTION
National Marriage Webcast 'Defining Marriage' was streamed into our own church and 500 others right across the nation last Tuesday night. If you missed hearing this panel of experts speak on this issue, you can now access this footage HERE.
The 'what is marriage' website also contains a simple tool for people to email their local member of parliament. We would also encourage this action in light of the current debate on same-sex marriage in the federal parliament.
As we consider the issues of same-sex marriage and homosexuality, I have included in this blog a balanced response to Dr Dyer's article (see previous blog). Please take the time to download and read this entire paper. The file is included below. I have also included a clip from the Equip Forum (Summit Church) dealing with the difficult issue of same-sex attraction from a biblical perspective. .J. D. Greear: "We tried to get past the myths, the political talking points, and discover how the gospel challenges this issue and those of us on both sides of it." (See below)
Dr Dyer’s Use of the Bible
Even though Dr Dyer has written about homosexuality, we think it is his use of Scripture which is most concerning. As Bible-believing Christians we turn to the Scriptures to learn what is true, to learn about God, to learn about humanity, indeed to learn everything that we need to know to be His people on earth. So we believe that our primary disagreement with Dr Dyer lies not in the area of sexuality, but in the way we read our Bibles.
What follows are three areas where we have grave concerns about Dr Dyer’s use of the Scriptures.
1. Experience over Scripture
As his title suggests, ‘A consistent Biblical approach to “(homo)sexuality”’, Dr Dyer attempts to engage with the Bible on the subject of homosexuality. However it is interesting to note what authority he feels the Bible has. He makes it clear to his readers that although the Bible is important, there is a sense in which it is subservient to human experience:
The attitudes of people are changed not by arguments or exegesis, but by personal encounters with a friend or a family member who is found to be 'homosexual' and Christian.After that comes the need for exegesis and reinterpretation, as we seek to understand this new reality in the light of our traditions- just as the early Christians struggled to come to terms with the presence of the Spirit in uncircumcised gentiles, against all their Biblical expectations. (8)
The first thing to be said is that Dr Dyer’s example of the early Christians does not hold up.He says they ended up accepting Gentile Christians ‘against all their Biblical expectations’. But was it their biblical expectations that were the problem? Not at all! The disciples’ expectations were not biblical enough, for the Old Testament itself expects the Gentiles to be welcomed in. Rather than their experiences reinterpreting the Bible, their experience needed to be corrected by the Bible.
(Continued ... please download this article below)
This Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11 tragedy, a watershed in US history as terrorism reached into the seemingly impregnable heart of US. And here in Australia, we held our breath as media recounted tales of courage and heroism amid the destruction, the despair and the heartache of devastated men, women and families. In retrospect, Daniel Darling (crosswalk.com) considers the lessons that have been learned, if any and particularly in relation to leadership, following this crisis. He suggests that good leadership in crisis depends on character. Character (formed, he argues, by a strong faith in Christ) keeps your eye on the ball. A crisis doesn’t make a leader, but it does reveal his character. It strips away the pretense, the pretending, the slogans, the smiles and lays bare a man or woman’s soul. Read his article here..
'This week is a sober one as we look back on the tragedy of 9/11. I’m amazed at how many of the memories come flooding back as I read the article and watch some of the clips. I recently read through my copy of WorldMagazine, who did a fantastic job with some original reporting and retrospectives. 9/11 offered some powerful lessons in leadership. Most everyone, outside of the leftwing fever swamps, agrees that President Bush and Mayor Rudy Guliani were exemplary in their leadership after 9/11. You may not agree with all of their politics or perhaps decisions made afterword, etc. but in the days after the tragedy, America was led well.
What does 9/11 teach us about leadership? I’ve found three compelling things:
Leadership is facing unknown crises. We typically select our political leaders based on a whole host of reasons, such as their position on health care, moral issues, fiscal issues, national security issues. Sometimes we forget to ask ourselves, What kind of man or woman is this? Are they competent to lead?'
Read the whole article....
Which of the following actually happened in America?
*A man is fired for displaying Bible verses in his work space.
*A judge orders a mother not to teach her daughter anything that could be considered 'homophobic'.
*High school students are trained to roam the halls in search of verbal 'offenses' to report to law enforecement officers.
*A pastor faces a prison sentence for reading from the Bible
ANSWER: All of the above. Don't believe it? Read 'The Criminalization of Christianity' by J Folger
And maybe you're tempted to believe that it won't happen here. Really?
As a Christian in this country, you may be understandably reluctant to speak out on moral issues like abortion, homosexuality, or pornography. But while we have the right to remain silent, that's not what God calls us to do. Because if the world can silence the truth, it will silence the gospel.
And maybe you think that your voice will not be heard or make a difference in these debates.But if people aren't protesting, then the politicians think we don't care. The reality is that when politicians are considering an issue they look at how many letters they have received on that issue and they nearly always listen to the loudest voices.
So does action get results?
In Tasmania, the homosexual lobby recently set up a special website to urge their people to lobby MPs to support the Surrogacy Bill because they needed to counter the large number of letters the MPs were getting from Christians opposing the Surrogacy Bill! A poll on The Age website, run in relation to the issue of teaching religious Education in schools, gained an amazing 88,000 votes with 80% in support of RE. That sort of grassroots action is needed on every issue. So, please, take note of issues listed on our forum and take action. Every letter, every signature will count!
Check the forum or HERE for updates on the recent petition for same-sex marriage.
Currently in Australia a process is underway to establish a new national curriculum for schools. State curriculums are being replaced by one uniform national curriculum – a process that will result in one of the greatest shifts in education delivery in the history of Australia. This process is being guided and run by the recently formed Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and follows the issuing of "The Melbourne Declaration" in December 2008.
Some criticism has been levelled at the history component of the new Australian curriculum that it presents an unbalanced view of Australian and world history and events. A document that is receiving praise and good reviews is a curriculum document published and promoted by the privately funded Curriculum Corporation of Australia.
Learning from One Another: Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools is being heavily promoted as a good addition to the syllabus for primary and secondary schools. The document is issued by the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies, (University of Melbourne).
This critique of "Learning from One Another: Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools” is written to highlight some of the most glaring distortions and to express concern at the narrow perspectives contained within.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the