I am a “C”

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 him 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.
Proverbs 13:24;22:15;29:1523:13-14
prov1324
In this verse we noticed the stark contrast between parents who are loving (provide discipline) and haters (neglect discipline).

prov2215
 

 
In this verse, we saw the nature of children (foolish) and the remedy (discipline).
 

 
prov2915
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.
 

 

prov2313-14
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!

Special thanks to LOGOS Bible software for the cool verse images and Daniel J. Phillips and his book God’s Wisdom in Proverbs.

Malarkey! Raising kids, MLK Jr Day and Sufficiency

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.

How to be Good

Be content with God’s goodness toward you and be thankful for the abundance as it is not owed to you.

1 Timothy 6:6–8 (NASB95)
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

Goodness is that quality in us which the Holy Spirit produces whereby we desire moral purity and to give charity toward the brethren and the heathen; it is the heart attitude by which our outward behaviors must be judged.

Are you patient or kind or peaceful because you are Good? Or do you try to do those other things to make yourself Good? Your legitimate kindness toward others, your self-control, your gentleness and humility are to be tempered by your Goodness: your moral uprightness as defined by God’s statutes revealed in His Word.

Proverbs 3:27 implies that God, who is always good and knows our need before we do, may seemingly withhold some good thing from us, like a wife or a husband, a job, a position at work or the church. He may let you have a dead child or spouse. He may not save family members as quickly as you’d like, but He is always good and thus, does not withhold good things from them to whom they are due. Therefore, the goodness you expect is either not due to you or it is not what is good for you at that time in His infinite and perfect wisdom.

There’s a preview of today’s Sunday School lesson I’ll teach at Berean Baptist Church where my views may or may not reflect the views of the church :).

Random Acts of Kindness

Preach the gospel at all times, whenever possible include kind actions as well.
–Michael Coughlin

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.

Everything Else is Idolatry – BIG10 Championship

3 men from central Ohio traveled to Indianapolis for the Big 10 Championship game in 2014, but they didn’t go to watch the football: they went to preach Christ.

Joe Conkle, Caleb Davenport and I went to Indy for this event. In a few hours, we handed out over 4000 tracts. I preached for 2 separate sessions of 30-40 minutes. We were encouraged by believers, mocked by scoffers and ignored by the indifferent.

God granted nice (dry) weather, but in the wind tunnel which was the intersection of Capitol & Georgia, it was freezing. But God brought us through it all.

This is the result. In this sermon, you will hear my heart as I plead for the lives of the men and women for whom I traveled to serve with the glorious Gospel.