How do you teach your children? When they were baptised, you promised to teach them the doctrine of the Old and New Testament, to instruct them in a god-fearing life, not loving the world but putting off their old nature. It is a question we cannot evade – as parents we have a responsibility to train and equip the next generation.
Continue reading “Listen, my son! Teaching Your Children the Christian Worldview”
But how to do that? Is it enough to give our children some boundaries and let them figure things out for themselves? Or should we have a content-rich curriculum in our homes, a curriculum that covers what a Christian approach to business looks like; how we are to think about western culture; the threats and opportunities provided by technology and how to use it in a God glorifying way; how to spend your money; the place and purpose of sexuality?
Some time ago I wrote an article about children leaving the church. I mentioned that we should never be comfortable with anyone, young or old, rejecting or denying Christ or His church. Leaving the church or turning one’s back on God is a slap in God’s face, a rejection of His promises.
Continue reading “Supporting Families where Children have left the Church”
I asked if we sincerely admonish someone who is going in the wrong direction, on a destructive path? Do we take mutual discipline seriously? Do we ask him if all is well when we find his seat empty again on Sunday? Do we approach him, or would we rather not get involved? Would we perhaps rather not get into an uncomfortable situation and prefer to leave it to others to approach him? Many of us don’t want to get into such a vulnerable situation. It is much easier not to be confronting, and instead to be ‘nice’, isn’t it?
Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. (Genesis 1:20-23)
Continue reading “Day 5: Soaring the Australian Skies”
I love the excitement that day five of God’s creation brought to my life. It is a joy to spend countless hours watching the antics of birds and sea creatures frolic in the habitats appointed to them.
The previous article discussed the reality of infertility and gave some insight into the grief that people experience when the longing for children is unfulfilled. Included was an encouragement for all of us to open our eyes to those who are suffering, to be willing to share their pain and be ready to encourage them in the Lord. In this issue I speak directly to those struggling with infertility, although much of what is said applies to suffering in general.
Continue reading “When God Doesn’t Give Children – 2”
One of the challenges when suffering pain, loss and grief in this life is to have a proper perspective of God, and how we should relate to him. It is often tempting to give in to anger or resentment, whether that is directed to God or others. There are many conflicting emotions to deal with. Travelling the road of infertility forces you to examine what you believe about God and about yourself, and it causes you to become a person who must rely on faith, and learn to put total trust in God as the one who truly sustains.
To whom belongs the child?
Continue reading “Reformed Education: Responsibility of the Parents”
In 1996 Rev. G. Van Popta delivered a speech at a teachers’ convention which was published in Clarion , in which he addressed this question. In it he summarises and evaluates an extensive discussion which our Canadian brothers and sisters had in that time about this question, in which he also addressed the position of the schools.
We now live in a climate in which the state is more and more inclined to claim the authority to teach our children what to believe and how to behave with regards to all kinds of moral issues. It is to be expected that in the coming few years, the state government in Western Australia will be trying to exert its influence more and more on what is being taught in Western Australian schools, how it is being taught, and by whom. It is important to consider the question: where do we stand as Christians? But also: what are the practical implications of this for our schools?
In this article I will look at what the Bible teaches us, and how throughout the history this question has been dealt with. In a second article I hope to come to some conclusions relevant for our own situation.
A quick Google search will tell you that more than 1 in 10 couples of child-bearing age will experience fertility problems. Some of these, with or without medical intervention, will receive children. Some will not.
Continue reading “When God Doesn’t Give Children – 1”
You need to trust these statistics because many infertile couples struggle in silence. The reality is that in our churches there are people sitting in the pews who are struggling with the pain of infertility. In a church culture where marriage and children are expectations, most people fit in with that culture, and those who don’t – well, many of us do not know how to deal with that. Most of us don’t know if we should raise the subject, or what to say if we do. For those who do not receive children, suffering then comes with the added burden of silence and shame. For those who have not experienced infertility, I want to give some idea of what it is like.
As we study what Scripture tells us about growth, change, and restoration, we learn more and more that the process of healing and restoration happens in the context of community. The New Testament is filled with commands for how we are to live in relation to one another because of the work of God that is happening in us.
Continue reading “Change Happens in Community”
The Body of Christ
Jesus gives his disciples the command to love one another (John 13:34; 15:12). A new command, not because loving one another is something new, but because the model for that love is new. John explains this further in his first letter: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). We have the model of God’s love which spills out from our hearts into the lives of those around us: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
God’s Grace is Always Sufficient
When thinking about depression I am reminded of William Cowper (1731-1800). This name might not be known by many. His loyal friend the ex-slave trader John Newton, though, will certainly be more familiar because he is the author of the popular hymn “Amazing Grace”.
Cowper was often plagued by doubts and melancholy. His depression was so serious that he spent time in an asylum, a place for people who suffered from mental illness. His friendship with John Newton proved to be an enormous blessing for him. John Newton was always at Cowper’s side whenever he needed him. Cowper said, “A sincerer or more affectionate friend no man ever had”.[i] To have true friends when you go through the valley of depression is a real blessing.
Continue reading “God’s Grace is Always Sufficient”
The First and Second Advent
Continue reading “The First and Second Advent”
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
In the Old Testament times the people of Israel would have sung similar words in expectation of Christ’s first coming. This hymn speaks about the Son of God appearing, the Emmanuel Who was promised by the prophet Isaiah in chapter 7 verse 14: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”. The New Testament church, that’s us, sings this beautiful hymn in preparation as well as commemoration of the birth of Christ, His first coming, but also in expectation of His second coming. He is the One Who has come, is coming, and will come. When He will come again we don’t know. No one knows the day or moment when the bridegroom shall appear. It’s a day on God’s calendar.
ACT and QLD ‘conversion therapy’ laws pave the way for Christian persecution in Australia.
Continue reading “‘conversion therapy’ Laws”
In the last month, two Australian jurisdictions (Queensland and the ACT) have passed laws which are a serious threat to the Christian faith. While these laws may not seem dangerous at first glance, they have serious implications for religious freedom.
In mid-August, Queensland became the first Australian state to ban ‘gay conversion therapy.’ Health professionals in Queensland who are found guilty of trying to suppress or change a patient’s gender identity or sexual orientation through any form of therapy face penalties of up to 18 months’ imprisonment.
By the end of August, the ACT did the same, making it an offence to perform a “conversion practice” on a “protected person” (including children), irrespective of whether or not the person, a parent or guardian gives consent. Despite a last-minute clarification by the government that “a mere expression of a religious tenet or belief” would not be banned, more stringent amendments to specifically protect parents, teachers and counsellors as well as amendments to protect churches and faith-based schools were not passed.