Archives For Family

How do you spice up a conference of family integrated churches? Ask a question about Reformed Rap. That’s exactly what happened at The Worship of God Conference from the NCFIC (National Center for Family Integrated Churches). This issue has been significantly batted around the blogosphere since the video posted below went viral over the Thanksgiving break.

As a pastor I now feel that I should address it. It has come to the threshold of our church family. As a church we are supportive of many of the priorities of the Family-Integrated Church movement (family shepherding, priority of the Word of God, priority of the local church, etc). At the same time many of our members (including pastors) regularly bob their heads to Reformed Rap.

So, what happened? It is like Uncle Integrated took a swipe at Cousin Hip-Hop over Thanksgiving Dinner. What do we do? Like any dysfunctional (sinful) family we have to take a step back and respond in love.

The strongest statement from the panel was made by Geoff Botkin who said that those who were driving Christian Rap were “disobedient cowards.” He later issued a statement that seemed to be intended as an apology. The overall tone of the panel was negative towards hip-hop and in some cases, like above, were vehemently opposed to it. Pass the sweet potatoes Uncle Geoff!

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“Bo Will Do It!”

Erik Raymond —  October 2, 2013

photo (5)I often find myself having my theological convictions reinforced and sharpened through parenting. Our youngest child is a hard-charging, intense, resolute little 2-year-old. His first (semi) sentence was literally, “Bo do it.” This is a phrase that he often repeats when people try to help him. “Let me pick you up.” “Bo do it. Bo will walk.” “Let me put your shoes on.” “Bo do it.” “I’ll buckle you in.” “Bo will do it.” He gets a bit excited and animated when attempting to do everything he desires to put his hand to.

This reminds me of the Covenant of Works. God gave the first man, Adam, a job to do (Gen. 1 & 2). He was promised blessing by means of obedience. Of course he failed to do what God required (Rom. 5:12-18) and we all to have done the same (Hos. 6:7; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23).

All of humanity is wired for work. This work is characterized by working with our hands and minds (doing stuff) but is also more vividly seen through our overall relationship with God. We are bent on working to please God. As a response to this virtually every religion in the world pivots on what we do. Religion is based upon doing all we can to please God. We must undo the omelets that Adam (and us) scrambled up.

When I listen to little Bo exclaim, “Bo do it!” I know that this desire to do will mature. He will eventually grow into a young man who attempts to expiate his own guilt by means of his working. The conscience will clamor so the hands of the soul will become ready to work.

The truth of the matter is that we cannot work our way out of the spiritual bondage we find ourselves in. Like our national debt, spiritual debt just daily increases and any effort to personally lesson it just exacerbates it.

We need a substitute. We need what the Bible calls “the last Adam.” (1 Cor. 15.45) Jesus Christ is that last Adam. He obeyed in every area that Adam failed. It is ultimately his work for us that deals with our conscience and guilt. It by the perfect life of obedience and the sin-atoning death that we may find true rest and rejoicing. By the doing and dying of Jesus we may cease striving and start living.

All of us need to go from “Bo will do it” to “Christ has done it!”

I’ve always enjoyed those scenes in the old Westerns when a guy walks into a saloon. You know what happens next; the music stops, conversations stop, and people turn their heads to look at the alien who just walked into the room. It’s great television. Sometimes I feel like we are living the domestic version of this scene. Our family is considered large by today’s standards. My wife and I have 6 children (ages 2–17). We tend to do things together and when we roll in with the kids the music stops, the heads turn and people’s eyebrows give each-other hi-fives.

We have embraced the freakishness of it. You kind of have to. In a society where families are radically changing, both in terms of size and substance, the freak factor will only increase. We get funny comments ranging from the sarcastic to the sympathetic. It is always entertaining. However, one question that we don’t regularly get is, “What is it like?” Questions usually pivot on the detriment (time and money) rather than the benefit (to us and society). In this post I want to highlight a few of the particular benefits to a large family. We call it the benefit of “pack-life.”

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Recently my family of 8 packed into our mini-van for an early Spring vacation. When I say “packed in” you may be thinking in terms of seats (i.e. a Honda Odessy only has 8 seats, therefore, we were packed in). This is not what I mean. We were packed in. The trunk was filled to the top, the floor had shoes, books, bags, and blankets. The front seat was full of distractions for the little kids as well as entertainment for adults and big kids. We were packed in. But then when we got closer to our destination (10 hours away from home), we went to Costco to buy food for the week. In this we were now officially fully packed in. Kids balanced cartons of eggs, coffee, vegetables, and milk while we finished our course.

The vacation ended and my normal duties resumed last week. I prepared a sermon and then delivered it on Sunday. After I was finished I was reflecting upon it and critiquing various elements of it and I was drawn back to our road-trip.

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This past year I ran my first marathon. As I ran I continued to chart my progress and endurance. Each mile marker rendered judgment against my goals. How am I doing? How will I finish?

The marathon is a fitting analogy for life. With the passing of each year there is a mile-marker of personal evaluation. There is an opportunity to take inventory, evaluate progress, and look ahead toward the finish.

To be honest, I have not done a lot of the latter. I have not looked ahead to the finish line and estimated my time. Like so many others, I like to live “mile-to-mile” making quick adjustments, taking advantage of quick bursts to make up for moments of laziness on the hills of life. While these inventories and adjustments are an integral part of doing what we set out to do they will not compel us in the same way as look at the end.

A look at the end of our life, the finish line, will bring a couple of things into focus:

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With a title like this there is little room for dilly-dallying along the way to the answer. So without much introduction, here is the tip that could save your marriage: Get a part-time job.

There. That’s it. Husbands, if you want to save or strengthen your marriage, get a part-time job.

I should say right off the bat that I am not talking about a literal job that will pull you away from the home for more hours. Instead I’m arguing for the husband to approach his time at home with his family with the same thoughtful intentionality and engagement that he would if he were to go to work.

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Math Class

Erik Raymond —  November 3, 2012

On Fridays I have the privilege of home-educating our children at The Raymond Academy. It is always rewarding and fun—it is also entertaining! In many ways I can relate to this video.