Fine Fire: Passing the Faith to the Next Generation

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Snakes, Spiders and Bible Fear

Reflections on Teaching the Scriptures "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:7 I only cried once on Christmas day, and whether it was from joy or sorrow I am still not certain. After sunset, Neil and I found ourselves ...

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Hospitality and Heartbreak

Neil likes to say that for many people, their living and dining rooms are designed solely for when the president stops by unexpectedly for dinner. Our western notion of hospitality is drawn more from gourmet columns than it is from any biblical notion of hospitality. Biblical hospitality is entirely different. It requires vulnerability and it can inconvenience, even hurt ...

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Growth by Imitation

Is everyone out there brimming with confidence, or, like me, do you find the following exhortations of Paul hard to imagine saying to another disciple yourself? I urge you to imitate me. (1 Cor. 4:16 NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. (Phi. 3:17) Our adventures in discipling the young believ...

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Risking Obedience

Risking Obedience The 'OH-NO!' Principle For parents, and anyone who disciples others: What's one, sure-fire thing you can do to help root the faith in those you are leading . . . to protect them from falling away later in life? I learned the oddest statistic a few years ago. Research was conducted over several decades to discover which factors led kids who grew up in C...

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Dear Friend...On Anxiety

As a frequent retreat speaker, I often find the conversations that follow a gathering to be the most fruitful. This month I'm taking a break from the Fine Fire topic to share a bit of post-conference correspondence which seems particularly relevant to our current stressful cultural climate. Dear Friend...On Anxiety, It was great to see your name pop up in my inbox again,...

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Pray Scary Prayers - Part 2 (The Prayer Lab)

The picture of Jesus surrounded by children is in all our Sunday school books. It's a tableau so familiar and so tame. Yet somehow in its tenderness, we have lost the sense of what a radical point Jesus was making by welcoming such young ones. Why were the disciples so disturbed by the presence of children? The Gospels record that they rebuked people for giving children a...

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Pray Scary Prayers - Part 1 (God's Got This)

You think you've learned something. You think you know something . . . only to discover that you'll be schooled in the same truth, over and over, all your life. Our lessons in praying scary prayers began when our family was new, yet the power of this one truth still surprises us, and the Lord often reminds us that we still haven't learned it sufficiently. The icy Februar...

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One Warning and Two Anti-Virals

I'm constantly intrigued with the threads of plot or character that run through the whole of the Scriptures. Like repeating melody lines in a symphony, or themes in a novel, they speak to the unity of the text and the sovereignty of its Author. One of those threads feels particularly pertinent to me as we endure this traumatic Covid-19 season. God frequently renders his p...

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Let Them See!

Psalm 78 voices the strangest declaration. The people of Israel are rehearsing the wonders the Lord accomplished in the Red Sea parting, and in their sojourn through the wilderness. Yet they begin with such an unlikely resolve: "We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mi...

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Now Watch

When the car door closes, anxiety rises. The experience of being sent home from the hospital after the birth of a baby is practically universal, at least in the West where most babies are born in hospitals. And to new parents, it all seems perilously close to criminal negligence. The time comes for the new family to take their baby home, and the staff is so concerned to ke...

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