Talbot faculty member, James Petitfils, and a panel of Talbot graduates who are now pastors in Southern California talk about ways to encourage participation in church life with those attending church.
A few evenings ago, we hosted a delightful group of ten Biola students at our house for dinner. During dessert, we launched into a lively discussion about how we should celebrate Christmas as Christians. We discussed various sub-topics under this broader question, but we spent the largest portion of our time talking about how Christians should—and should not—talk to their children about Santa Claus.
Since I had several December pregnancies, I found myself frequently thinking of Mary, the first Christmas Mother. As I thought of my troubles and fears with my pregnancy—nothing unusual, just what is common to woman: morning sickness, fatigue, aches, and concerns about the safety of the delivery of the child—I remembered that she was quite possibly, the bravest mother who ever lived. She faced obstacles on every hand but she faced them with courage. Her life was full and good, but it was not at all what she imagined her life and her motherhood would be.
As indicated in a previous post, Talbot School of Theology will be well represented this year at the Evangelical Theological Society's national meeting [need link here]. For those unable to attend (most of you, I assume!), here is a video clip that touches upon some key ideas that I will be sharing in my plenary address. The interviewer is Dr. Jason Cusick, a pastor at Journey of Faith Church in Manhattan Beach, CA. The clip was shown in a church service as part of a series on the church and the family.
Since students often come to me asking about doctoral work after Talbot, I thought it would be helpful to share my personal experience in obtaining my own doctorate. Perhaps some will find my experience helpful as they prayerfully contemplate whether the Lord is leading them to pursue further studies in a doctoral program.
I often think about home in a specific way. For a long time, home has been a safe place to come back to at the end of the day. It has been a place to establish a comfortable niche in the world as a respite, a literal financial investment in emotional well being. Home has been about rest and nurture, as it can be a place of ministry to family and friends. It also has been a place to launch out into kingdom ministry more broadly.
... The culture was restless in the ‘60s. And that restlessness was present in the church, too. Women lined up on both sides of the raging debates about the identity and purpose and worth of a woman—debate issues such as, a woman should be in the home rearing her children or a woman should be educated and in the work force; or, a woman is different from a man or a woman is just like a man.
La semana pasada mi esposa, Angélica, y yo celebramos 16 años de casados. Angélica es, sin duda, la mayor bendición que he recibido y nuestro matrimonio ha sido el mejor y a la vez el más difícil tiempo de mi vida. Estoy profundamente agradecido por la dicha de haber encontrado el favor divino en mi esposa y puedo asegurar con toda certeza que soy feliz a su lado. También he de reconocer que el matrimonio no es fácil y caminar por la vida junto a otra persona por momentos pareciera una carrera de obstáculos. Esta combinación de realidades, aunque parecieran contradictorias, reflejan acertadamente mis años de casado y estoy seguro la de la mayoría de los matrimonios entre seguidores de Cristo.
It’s wedding season and there are many ways to celebrate on that special day for the bride and the groom. One of the best ways to celebrate this occasion is through the traditional toast that is given during the wedding reception. However, I’ve recently seen that what should typically be one of the high points of the reception just flops miserably... This is not what we should do to the bride or groom! I’d like to offer a few suggestions in this blog of what not to do in a toast and then what one should do in order to make the celebration a wonderful and meaningful one.
In my last post, I talked about the importance of our ministry with children and some ministry objectives we need to pursue. In this follow up blog I would like to talk about four aspects of children’s ministry that together help us accomplish our goals of helping children grow and mature as a part of the church, the people of God. These are worthy goals, and it can be tempting to try to design one children’s program in the church to address them all. But if we take them each seriously, it will soon be clear that this is more than a matter of having a class or a club program for children. Instead, it requires thinking carefully about the full life of the church, as well as the church and family environment our children grow up in. It has implications for what we do for our children, with them, to them, and the opportunities we provide for them to be engaged in ministry themselves. I invite you to read and think with me about what this might look like.
We have previously been working through some of the unique and distinct challenges that Asian-American couples face in regards to preparing for weddings and marriage. This blog has raised some of the issues that typically come out during pre-marital counseling sessions. The goal of this series has been to try and understand some of these cultural dynamics that may be vastly different from the many books that are out there on the subject of pre-marital counseling and marriage that may be written from a Western perspective. Some of these differences include dealing with parents, setting up appropriate wedding venues and services, transfer of authority between parents and spouses, guest lists for the wedding, and other potentially shame based challenges. This blog will now give some general and practical advice on how to resolve some of these tensions.
Almost eleven months ago, my wife and I said a tearful goodbye to our young adult daughter Lydia just before she boarded a plane at the Los Angeles airport on her way to serve as a missionary nurse in Mindanao, Philippines ... About six weeks ago Lydia discovered that she had contracted typhoid fever, a very serious illness. Subsequently, she was hospitalized three times in Mindanao, first to treat the typhoid, then to rescue her during a life-threatening emergency related to the typhoid, then to treat sepsis, her second life-threatening emergency ...
This year’s Mother’s and Father’s Day season brought to mind some wisdom my folks shared with me years ago. These morsels of sound reason have helped me navigate the diverse oceans and streams I’ve crossed over the years. I do realize that not everyone has great parents, but mine were pretty solid. So, please let me share some of the gold I received from Bob & Reka Boersma, two lovebirds who shared an incredible adventure in life with four kids and a huge assortment of farm animals.
In November 2009 my family had the incredible honor to adopt Mfundo from South Africa. The journey to that point was filled with unknown challenges to us, as we happened to be the first adoptive family from the United States to legally adopt in South Africa. We were not the first to try to adopt from this country; we were just the family that happened to be furthest into the adoptive pre-work when the two countries came into agreement for international adoptions.
In my last blog, I explored some of the key differences of the dynamics of Asian-American weddings specifically in relationship to “honoring” the parents and their guests at the wedding ceremony. In this blog, I’d like to discuss some of the challenges related to the relational dynamics of the different families prior to marriage. This will include “family matching,” approval of different vocations, and the transfer of authority from the father/mother to the husband and bride ...
Women’s ministry has existed throughout the centuries of Christian history, and it is here to stay. In this blog post, Nell Sunukjian shares about the ways that women have been an active part of ministry throughout the centuries.
In my last blog, I discussed the concept of how the parent-child relationship is viewed differently from an Eastern Asian style than a Western American style. With this difference comes the difficulty of “leaving and cleaving” as found in Genesis 2:25. This also relates to obedience from parents for a lifetime since being a child is viewed more as a permanent status rather than an age range. This is also coupled with a long-term care of the parents supported by passages such as 1 Timothy 5:8 which states that if one does not care for his family that he is worse than an unbeliever.
I’ve begun reading into the topic of women and men in ministry. I noticed immediately that the concept of “head” stands out in the debate between egalitarian and complementarian interpretations. As a metaphor, the concepts and specific applications intended by Paul can be elusive. For help, I turned to an expert on the subject, my colleague, Dr. Michelle Lee-Barnewall. Below are her explanations of four questions as part of beginning to explore the meaning of “headship.”