Saturday, July 4, 2015

Four Family Waypoints - #1, Authentic Worship

Fatherhood:  the intersection of minivan and mountain bike
After dinner, as many early evenings as possible, we like to go on a bike ride together as a family - often all five of us.  We are quite a spectacle to some of our neighbors.  As we wave hello, some wave back, some stare.  One neighbor observed, "Here comes the Bicycle Brigade!"

As Darling Bride and I discussed this after one ride, she pointed out that we are the exception rather than the rule.  She is right - of the several hundred houses we ride by every day, we are the only ones we've seen like us - me as the ride leader, three teenagers and a Darling Bride riding together as a family.

Whether leading your family on a bike ride or through the adventure we call life, you may wonder if you are an exception, rather than the rule.  You have your values and priorities, the culture at large apparently has its own.  Stephen Covey observed this several years ago in his adaptation of his 7 Habits book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families:  (paraphrase) In earlier generations, society was in agreement with the family.  Today, society is opposed to the family in many ways.

We are not without guidance.

Darling Bride and I have been active in a healthy church with the Bible as its foundation since early in our marriage.  We haven't had to guess or rely on the latest TV show as our guide as we're building our marriage and raising our children toward imminent adulthood.  To paraphrase the apostle Peter's writing in 2 Peter 1:3, God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.  But how do I sort out all that I've learned in Bible study, sermons, workshops, seminars, and good books?  To that end, I've summarized what I think is most important into Four Family Waypoints.

Waypoints are reference points used in navigation (like a landmark)

For example, if you stopped and asked directions, as real men do, and you were told, "Go to the corner with the fire station and turn right," the fire station would be a waypoint.  In the same way, we can use waypoints as we navigate our families through the adventure of life toward our mission.  Our family's mission happens to be "Together we discover, nurture, and fulfill God's call on our lives."

Perhaps this will help you think about how to apply the Bible in your own situation, navigating the competing world views out there:
Here and the next three posts we'll expand upon these in detail and how they can work together to help lead yourself and your family in a time when it seems as if anything goes.

Authentic Worship

It all starts with what, or more specifically who, you think is most important.  I'll offer my recommendation in a moment after I suggest one way not to do it.  One Autumn afternoon when our kids were much younger, they and I were playing outside.  We were talking with another boy outside by himself.  His dad wasn't with him because he was inside watching a football game.  Bad idea.  Don't worship that.

How do we know what's authentic and what's not?  Fair question - I've been to Sunday School in a Methodist Church in my elementary school years, graduated from a Church of the Brethren affiliated university, professed atheism in my early 20s, was converted in a Roman Catholic Church, and have raised my family in a church planted by a Baptist Church.  Everybody wants to be on the winning team, which one (or none) is it?  And aren't those who believe in God and His ways losing the culture war anyway?
Andrew Greeley, Catholic priest, sociologist, and author once wrote in a magazine article I've long since otherwise forgotten that right and wrong is not determined by public opinion polls.  A better way would be to take a look at what the Bible says about who God is, what God is like, and how we should act toward God, especially regarding Himself in the person of Jesus.  That's not necessarily popular in the culture at large, so a brief apologetic - if you take a look at the reliability of the manuscripts, the archeology, and the prophecy, you can gain confidence in what you already know is true.  For further inquiry, you can visit Stand To Reason at or The Christian Research Institiute at  

Right and wrong is not determined by public opinion polls.

Based on the evidence that can be seen, our family has put our trust in the God that cannot be seen.  So far, He has never let us down as each of us works through our own relationships with Him, ourselves, and others we come in contact with.  Hebrews 11:6 is as true now as it ever was - "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him."  Once we make God, his Bible, and His Church a priority, He also helps us as we decide individually and as a family about decisions such as relationships with others, education, and how we spend our free time.  We'll cover those in the next few posts.

Go ahead to Waypoint #2, Loving Relationships
Go ahead to Waypoint #3, Worthwhile Learning
Go ahead to Waypoint #4, Excellent Life Experiences

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