‘Dad, are there 2 Jesuses?’ (how to teach your child about the Trinity)

‘Dad, are there 2 Jesuses?’ (how to teach your child about the Trinity)The look on my 4-year-old son Williams’s face was one of confusion and bewilderment – and I knew he was preparing to toss me a theological curve ball.

We had been reading a passage out of the New Testament and discussing a simple-yet-profound concept that is taught repeatedly throughout Scripture: God sending His Son to the Earth in the form of a tiny baby.

My blue-eyed, curly-haired son knows the story about Mary, Joseph and the Christ child by heart. He even can tell you all about Easter. But on this night He was getting hung up on the roles of God the Father and God the Son – and the differences.

Finally, William spit it out: “So, Dad, are there two Jesuses?”

For much of his short life, William has been the king of crazy questions. When learned that his yet-to-be-born baby brother would not immediately be able to crawl or walk, he asked: “So, he won’t have legs?” When I told him that Noah was 600 when he built the ark, William asked, innocently, “Is that older than grandpa?”

But as much as I wanted to toss his theological question into the “kids-say-the-darndest-things” category, I couldn’t. That’s because for weeks and weeks, I had been teaching him that Jesus is God, but on this night I was telling him that Jesus was being sent by God. Let’s be honest: Unless you’ve been in church culture your entire life, that concept certainly sounds confusing.

So is Jesus God, or was He sent by God? Or to put it into the 4-year-old vernacular, are there two Jesuses?

The Bible is full of hard-to-understand concepts – for preschoolers and adults. For example, it teaches that Jesus was 100 percent God and 100 percent man. Here’s another one: Jesus, as a child, simultaneously knew nothing and everything. Huh?

You see, parents aren’t all that much different from my 4-year-old son. We, too, are struggling to grasp some of Scripture’s most incredible concepts. We want God to be explained to us, in detail, and preferably in the next five minutes by PowerPoint. But if God could be so easily explained, He wouldn’t be God, would He?

The good news, though, is that Christian parents don’t have to be theologians in order to teach their children about the Trinity – or any other hard-to-understand concepts. All we have to do is teach what the Bible teaches, and go no further.

In fact, as I have learned, children are far more accepting of difficult-to-understand truths than are adults. That night, I told my 4-year-old son the same thing I would tell a 44-year-old co-worker, or any other adult. Here’s what I said: Continue reading

3 things to teach your daughter about true beauty

3 things to teach your daughter about true beauty My daughter Maggie is only 3 but she already knows what she wants to be when she grows up.

A princess.

But not just any princess. She wants to be a beautiful princess. And preferably, one who wears pink dresses. And does ballet.

Three years ago, I despised the princess craze. Why would I—I thought at the time—want my daughter to chase after an unattainable physical beauty that only resides in fantasies and Hollywood-style Disney movies?

But here I am, three years later, with a daughter who wants nothing more than to be pretty and to wear nail polish, and who wakes up every morning wanting to don the latest princess fashion.

How did I get here? Believe me, I didn’t promote it.

As much as I’d love to blame Disney, I really can’t. If I did that, then I might as well blame the football manufacturer who designed the kiddie pigskin her twin brother recently used to break a light bulb. Just as he is naturally attracted to physical activity, she has a natural yearning to be physically beautiful. And that latter concept terrifies me.

It scares me to think about my daughter growing up in a culture where a simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a fleshly battle, with society screaming at every turn: “You’re not beautiful enough!” There, on the billboard, is the perfect-looking Hollywood star, telling anyone who happens to look: “This is what you should look like.” And there, on the cover of the checkout-line magazine, is that same woman, only this time she’s lost half of her clothes and is promoting a “secret” diet and exercise routine that helped her lose all of that baby weight and get back down to 98 pounds!

Unless you have $50 million, a live-in nannie, a personal trainer, time to burn and an air brush, who can compete with that? Our culture’s objectification of women is to be loathed, but thankfully, Scripture gives us a better option. So what will I tell my daughter? This:
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Will I love my biological child as much as my adopted ones?


Will I love my biological child as much as my adopted ones?The bright computer monitor in the hospital delivery room read 151, then 155, then 153. My wife and I traded smiles. It was my unborn son’s heart rate, and the reading was—the nurse said—perfect. The sound, though, was what put a tear in my eye.

Tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump it rapidly went, telling anyone who knew our background: God is amazing … and He has a sense of humor.

We had decided to call him “Isaac,” simply because we, like Abraham and Sarah and their own son by that name, literally laughed when we learned my wife was pregnant. That’s what you do when you become pregnant in your 40s, seven years after adopting your first child and three years after adopting twins. It’s what you do when you learn you’re pregnant 10 years after visiting a fertility doctor, crying and wondering what the future holds. It’s also what you do when you become pregnant after you give away your baby carrier, your baby toys and all your baby clothes.

It’s not the path I would have chosen but, in hindsight, I would not change a thing.

Many couples struggling with infertility—like we did—look at their options and contemplate a question they’d rather not voice publicly: Can I love an adopted child as much as a biological one?

But before Isaac was born this summer, I confronted a very different question: Can I love a biological child as much as my adopted ones?
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3 ways to raise modest kids (in an immodest world)

3 ways to raise modest kids (in an immodest world)I’m not sure when parents began debating the so-called “sheltering” of children, but I’m pretty sure the conversation became far more significant when television was invented—that is, when we allowed culture to invade our lives.

I tend to fall into the let’s-shelter-our-kids camp—at least for youngsters—but I’ve come to a simple conclusion: It’s impossible. For instance …

My 3-year-old daughter and I recently were sitting at the newest restaurant in town, sharing a Reuben sandwich and a plate of fries while coloring our favorite animals, when her eyes caught the image on one of the overhanging TV sets.

“Daddy, she’s naked!”

I took a quick look at the television to see what she was referencing—it was, if you’re curious, “Entertainment Tonight”—and then told her in a reassuring voice, “You’re right. We need to pray that woman finds some clothes.”

Legally and technically, my daughter was wrong: The woman, a model, wasn’t naked. But biblically and practically? My daughter was right on the mark. And I was proud of her.

God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skin in the garden (Genesis 3:21), but ever since, Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch and every other designer and store have been trying to remove it, inch by inch. Their creations in ritzy New York studios create a domino effect: sold in stores, bought by teens, and then returned by parents. But it’s not just Christian families who have weekly “you’re not going out like that!” arguments. This issue crosses ideological and cultural boundaries.

Scripture says we are to kill desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:24) but immodesty does just the opposite, bringing it back to life and encouraging its captives to strut around like a boastful half-naked peacock.

Of course, we shouldn’t simply blame fashion designers for this problem. Their clothes wouldn’t have gone over well with, say, the Pilgrims or even Colonial Americans. We as a society buy those clothes, and this issue often is a matter of the heart.

Still, there are practical steps parents can take to raise modest children in an immodest world. Here are three:
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New Horizons, Pluto and God: 3 lessons that will blow your mind

New Horizons, Pluto and 3 awe-inspiring lessons about God

Artist’s concept. Source: NASA

One of my favorite magazines is National Geographic, which may seem kind of odd coming from someone who holds a worldview quite different from that of the award-winning publication.

But while National Geographic may be void of explicit Christian or even theistic commentary, each month it does a stellar job in showcasing the wonders of God through its pictures, illustrations and text – even if the editors and writers don’t realize it.

God wants us to marvel at His creation, but in the irony of ironies, it’s often the naturalists who spend the most time doing it. Too often we Christians distance ourselves from science, viewing it perhaps as boring or even at war with Scripture.

The biblical writers didn’t see it that way. In fact, if you look at only one aspect of science – astronomy – the writers of the Old and New Testaments spent a great deal of time thinking about it. The Bible mentions stars more than 40 times, such as: “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4). Or this one: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host” (Psalm 33:6).

In case you haven’t heard, this month we’ll get our first-ever look at Pluto, that tiny body in our solar system that was discovered in 1930 but is so far away that it merely looks like a speck of light through telescopes. If you’re of a certain age, it was the ninth planet for decades and decades before (wrongly) being demoted to “dwarf planet” status.

NASA in 2006 launched a piano-sized spacecraft called New Horizons, which has taken nine years to trek 3 billion miles even though it is traveling at 38,000 mph. National Geographic writers, though, shouldn’t be the only ones fascinated with this mission. God’s people should be at the forefront. In fact, if Abraham, King David and even the Apostle Paul were alive, I think they would be gathering around computer screens, waiting for the latest images of Pluto to display.

Here are three lessons about God we can learn from the New Horizons mission – and can teach our children:
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