The Way of Weakness in Covenant Nurture

"Wake me up and tell me that I've been dreaming-who is sufficient to handle this?!" Under my breath, I've uttered these words dozens of times over the years. The blessings and joys of parenting-and, equally, the pressures and demands of trying to nurture my children wisely-often stop me in my tracks. None of us needs to be reminded of the high call of faithful parenting. Teachers and youth leaders know this too. When we're in the trenches, responsible for the Christian nurture of the generation coming up behind us, we typically step out gingerly, one foot in front of the other, feeling for solid, scriptural ground. We have experienced what it means to grow weary in the Lord's stewardship of household well-doing. Maybe it is sitting at the breakfast table, refereeing the dividing up of the last donut. Or perhaps you're checking in with your wife about the request that your sixteen-year-old has made to go four doors down the street for a neighborhood games night. To endure, we need to pray for strength ... Read more

Nurturing Our Daughters

I am the mother of two daughters, and I take very seriously my obligation to teach these precious ones about our Lord Jesus Christ and about being a Christian woman. So I was delighted when I discovered the Keepers at Home™ program, which provides an exciting and rewarding structure for teaching and preparing young women for their futures. (There is a parallel program for boys called Contenders for the Faith™.) I first encountered Keepers Club when I was worshiping at Grace OPC in Columbus, Ohio. A club organized by Leslie Gaudio, a member there, meets at Grace Church once a month during the school year. My older daughter and I were privileged to participate in this club for a brief time before moving to the Philadelphia area in 2004. At those club meetings, we enjoyed the fellowship of other like-minded mothers and daughters, and learned new skills as varied as cake decorating and tying quilt knots. After we moved, we found that we missed both the fellowship and the learning opportunities ... Read more

The Heart of a Little Girl

I remember when my oldest daughter had her first date. I was there. She was just under two years old, and I was her escort. Having been uncharacteristically away from home for a week, I knew she needed some special time with the man of her life. We went out for popcorn together, at the food court of a local department store. We shared a Pepsi. She was thrilled. She goes on dates with me with some regularity now, although they cost a bit more these days. (A friend with a teenage daughter tells me that that trend will continue!) And since the Lord in his goodness and mercy has blessed my wife and me with two more daughters, it is now my privilege to escort each of these little ladies on occasions on which I aim to teach them how to be loved by a man. It has already become a treasured family tradition that each of my beloved girls be graced with the opportunity to be with their father for an extended date on their birthday. This has come to include dinner at a restaurant, an overnight stay at a hotel with ... Read more

Turning Points in American Presbyterian History
Part 5: The Plan of Union, 1801

In 1801, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. entered into a "Plan of Union" with New England Congregationalists that has long baffled Presbyterians concerned about the well-being of their communion. The purpose of the agreement was to strengthen Presbyterian home missions and prevent divisive competition between Presbyterians and Congregationalists. The first of the four articles in the Plan reads as follows: It is strictly enjoined on all their missionaries to the new settlements, to endeavour, by all proper means, to promote mutual forbearance, and a spirit of accommodation between those inhabitants of the new settlements who hold the Presbyterian, and those who hold the Congregational, form of Church government. The rest of the Plan specified how congregations were to call ministers, relate to presbyteries or Congregationalist associations, and conduct discipline. It all sounded good, but within thirty years many Presbyterians would rue this agreement. Reasons for ... Read more


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