Thoughts on the Discipline of Confession

Thoughts on the Discipline of Confession

I’ve thought a lot about sin and how we define sin these days, especially with kids. I went through many hours of training with the organization Child Evangelism Fellowship, and we memorized a definition, with motions, for sin. “Sin is anything I think, say, or do that makes God sad or breaks his rules.” In my years of church and Bible club teaching, I’ve used the definition countless times in explaining and reminding kids as we talk about sin and salvation. But over time I’ve tweaked the definition to make it one I think will speak to kids even better … and will travel with them as they grow. “Sin is anything I think, say, or do that makes God sad because I’m doing it my way instead of God’s way.” We...

Read More

What’s a Hypocrite?

What’s a Hypocrite?

I don’t think we’ve had this particular discussion before with the boys. It was verses from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) and questions in Good Dirt (http://gooddirtfamilies NULL.com/good-dirt-devotional/) that got their wheels turning and, before we’d even finished the Scripture reading our 8-year-old was interrupting with, “What’s a hypocrite? … What’s a hypocrite?” They couldn’t really identify with Jesus’ examples of blowing trumpets when giving money in church, or praying really loud on street corners, or fasting from food with troubled faces. So, the challenge was to bring hypocrisy to a kid’s level. “It’s doing things so that other people will think you’re a really...

Read More

Going for Gold

Going for Gold

Olympic season and the Quinns are taking in some winter sports in Russia these days! We’re rooting not only for the USA but also for Norway, Switzerland, and the Ukraine. Our high-schooler is part of a competition in his Global Community class and his threesome bid for these countries in their class Olympics. They chose well; we’ve celebrated more than a few golds. It’s fun to watch these exotic winter games and witness the amazing victories, along with the crushing upsets, injuries, and nerve-wracked sub-par performances. As we do, though, the mom in me can’t help but ask questions that span far beyond Russia. It’s these questions that run deep and wide, but that really circle back to the heart of each one of us and what it is that we’re really...

Read More

Just Like a Snowflake

Just Like a Snowflake

This week we reach the mid-point of Epiphany, and this morning two of my boys and I had a fitting conversation on the way to school. First, I will backtrack. We started off Epiphany in early January talking about Jesus, the Light of the World. This season of Epiphany (between Christmastide and Lent) is focused on just that–Jesus revealed to us as Savior, Messiah, Light of the World. And as we have basked in the glow of Jesus during this season, we have also considered how he calls us to let our light shine before others. Our family has prayed many prayers thanking Jesus for being the Light and asking him to shine his light in our lives. I wrote a post about how we even entered into discussions of Jesus, the Light (http://gooddirtfamilies...

Read More

Understanding Sin and Where It Brings Us

Understanding Sin and Where It Brings Us

Sin. We can’t talk about what it means to be a follower of Jesus without discussing sin. It’s a word we find a lot in the Bible and a word that has been used in all sorts of ways throughout the eras of the Christian church. Sometimes sin hasn’t been explained well, and sometimes God’s answer to sin hasn’t been celebrated as the vital second half of the story of God’s life with us. I’m reading the New Testament book of Romans with a group at church, and we have plunged right in with Paul, the writer of Romans, to talk of sin and its effects on people in the very first chapter of this book. Paul is writing to a church in the big, first-century city of Rome that has never had a visit from an apostle, has never had...

Read More

Jesus, Our Wonderful Counselor

Jesus, Our Wonderful Counselor

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor …”  Isaiah 9:6 I reflected on the names of Jesus in this Isaiah passage over the Christmas season, but I didn’t get past the first description of Jesus as Wonderful Counselor.This one absorbed all my thoughts. How interesting and significant that this title for Jesus is the first one listed. It struck me these last weeks how much Jesus stands ready–stands near–to counsel us, guide us, teach us, give us wisdom that is beyond any we could find on our own or could receive from any person we might consult. Being  a reader and an all-around word  person, I have always relied on what can be called...

Read More