I preached this sermon this week at church. Here are the images which are referred to therein:
Many folks will recognize the reference to the “camp song” in the title of this post. I am a “C”. I am a “C-H.” I am a “C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.” And I have “C-H-R-I-S-T” in my “H-E-A-R-T” and I will “L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y”!
It’s catchy. If you don’t know the tune, click here to check it out.
More on that later.
Today I took the first of a much needed two day vacation. My children have a snow day, so it is family day at the Coughlin home. I sat with my eldest 3 children to do a devotional today. I wanted to communicate to them why we have discipline for our youngest, Wesley who is only 1. Often I find my older children giving in to his mildly tyrannical demands, a trend I don’t want to see continue. I also don’t want my older kids who are just trying to help and who are genuinely trying to love their little brother to be discouraged.
So I turned them to 5 verses, studied in the following order.
In this verse we noticed the stark contrast between parents who are loving (provide discipline) and haters (neglect discipline).
In this verse, we saw the nature of children (foolish) and the remedy (discipline).
Here we saw the use of the rod bringing the opposite of the innate foolishness of a child, to the child. We also see the unfortunate effect of a foolish child. Shame to Mom! May I confess my own personal sin in that area for which Jesus (and my Mom) have graciously forgiven me.
Finally, we saw this wonderful promise that proper discipline will not harm the child, but rather, it will provide him/her with life. It is this type of discipline which loving parents apply to their children which allows children to see the personal promise which is offered when they obey their parents. (Exodus 20:12). We saw how parents and children work together to eliminate foolishness from the child’s heart God’s way.
So I asked my children, what is the proper heart response to parents who are trying to discipline according to the nurture and admonition of God? They responded that it should make them feel good; they realized there should be an acknowledgement that they are inherently foolish in their hearts and that they should actually crave discipline…so that they may reach the point where they are no longer fools.
Any child who claims to be a Christian ought to be challenged to believe these Scriptures and respond as if they really believed them which would look like gratitude, affection toward parents and ultimately, obedience.
Then I thought of this song referenced earlier and I asked my children to each write a new song with the truths they learned. I gave them a starting point, here are the results to the tune of “I am a ‘C.'” Say capital letters individually, not as words.
Bailey – 14
I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHILD.
and I am FOOLISH in my HEART and if I am not disciplined I will DIE!
Alexandra – 10
I am a C, I am a CH. I am a CHILD.
and I have FOOLISHNESS in my HEART and only DISCIPLINE and CHRIST can SAVE me!
Nicholas – 12
I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHILD.
and I have FOOLISHNESS in my HEART and I will need DISCIPLINE!
1. I know it’s funny that Alex Malarkey’s last name has a coincidental meaning in English of “nonsense.” And the book previously drafted by him is nonsense.
But can we stop with the plays on words with the person’s name? Just take for example the fact that both Alex and his mother have repented and are working to amend for the error as enough to say, hey, let’s stop making fun of the kid’s name?
Seriously, he inherited that name from his earthly father, and Alex has a new Father now anyway. I can’t tell you how hurt I’d be if someone with my last name did something stupid and then my last name became a great punchline.
2. If you are going to talk about Martin Luther King Jr., and you don’t allow people to refer to details about the man’s life or teachings which directly relate to his character, well, remember the words of … um … Martin Luther King Jr.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
I would say allegations of adultery go directly to the “content of his character” regardless of the “color of his skin.” And if the content of a man’s character directly relates to his qualifications as a preacher, then so be it. And if a man isn’t qualified to preach, I have no reason to listen to his preaching on that basis. Now that doesn’t mean MLK never said anything right or true, but it was incidental, for the wrong reason and thus, possibly misdirected.
If me writing what I just wrote makes me a racist in your estimation, then you are part of the problem.
3. Back to the Malarkey or Burpo kid with the Heavenly Tourism stuff. What should be striking is NOT so much that there are ravenous wolves trying to deceive the Church, but rather, that the Church is either so non-Christian or so lacking in discernment that these books are even popular. Seriously, I don’t know the demographics, but my guess is the predominant statistics would tell us it isn’t atheists and Muslims who are buying these books!
Whose fault is it? A number of people, to be sure, but for one thing: pastors and teachers who are afraid to speak ill of these books and name them to their congregation as well as men who do not hold to and consistently teach the sufficiency of Scripture.
4. My baby boy is turning 1 Sunday. After 2 miscarriages, for God to give my wife and me a child is so sweet. This is the first child we are raising together (we had 3 others already when we met). It is really fun to watch the process and to see how we each interact with him. I’ve noticed in the area of discipline something neat.
It seems to me that my wife tries to appeal to him to love her and have a desire to obey her. So when she tells him what to do or what not to do, it is very kind and gentle, almost enticing him to goodness. It’s like subconsciously, she wants him to choose good things for good reasons and love and trust for her.
I am nearly opposite. I am completely happy that he fears me and the consequences of bad behavior. You can see the difference in how we interact with him. It made me think of our Perfect Triune God who really offers both those features to His children to provoke us to love and good works in the fear of the Lord.
Just a few random thoughts for a Wednesday.
Preach the gospel at all times, whenever possible include kind actions as well.
Christian: You can seem kind without giving the most important thing you can give to people. I’m not saying “don’t do kind acts,” and I’m not saying “you can only do a kind act if you share the gospel” … but don’t pat yourself on the back for sending people to hell with full bellies or warm clothes or a free lunch or two.
In a couple hours, I’ll delivery my teaching on “kindness” from Galatians 5:22.
Check back or go to my Sermon Audio page to hear the final teaching.
The Lord and my local church honored me again with the privilege of speaking to my congregation this week. As is customary on Wednesday night in the summer, my directive was to bring an object lesson.
Continuing on the theme of the eyes (The Eyes of God), I want you to delve into the significance of man’s eyes.
To perform the object lesson found midway through the sermon, stand with your feet together and bend over to touch your toes. Make a mental note how far your fingers can reach. Then standing straight, put your right finger in front of your face and affix your eyes on it. Move your finger to the right and left, then up and down a few times. Do not move your head, but allow your eyes to stay fixated on your finger. Do that for about 30 seconds to a minute, then bend over to touch your toes again…notice any difference?
When the Bible says “God saw” or refers to “God’s eyes” what do you think that means? Is God like we are. I had an opportunity for a short devotion this Sunday at my church and decide to look into the “Eyes of God.”
Notably, I posted about Habakkuk 1:13 years ago here. That is one of the verses I teach about in the above audio.
If you enjoyed “The Eyes of God,” – check out “The Eyes of Man.”