Why today is differrent

Why is today different than any other day?
  Today is Good Friday!
     Today is Good Friday in a very strange time.

"Why is tonight different than any other night?" is part of the Jewish Seder.  Traditionally the youngest, able child asks this question during the first meal of the Passover, a reminder and celebration of God's mighty work in Egypt.  

After watching the 8th episode of The Chosen, which was about the Samaritan woman at the well, we had a family devotional time.  I asked Jadyn to ask the "Why is today different than any other day?" question.  Then we read John 4:1-24 and finished some incomplete statements I wrote based on 4:1-42 and Good Friday.  

Now before I share what we talked about I would love for you to take some time to think through the passage and statements.  In our family time, I briefly went through the other sections and challenged the family to think about them more this weekend.  Here are the questions.

  • Read John 4:1 – 24: 
    • When confronted with her sin, the woman at the well turns the conversation to...
    • Jesus responds by telling her...
    • REMEMBER:  Worship is not so much about WHERE but rather WHO and HOW

  • Read 4:25- 37:
    • Jesus told the woman...
    • Jesus said his food was...
  • Read 4:38-42:
    • The woman was excited and told the people that...
    • At first, this sounds strange because...
    • The people said the following about Jesus...
  • Good Friday Application:
    • In thinking about the REMEMBER statement above, we still celebrate Good Friday and Easter during the quarantine because...
    • In thinking about the woman’s reaction and response, today is called Good Friday because...
    • In thinking about the woman and the people’s responses, our responses should be...
    • In thinking about God, Jesus, worship, and John 4:1 – 42, I should...
So why is today Good Friday?
Watching the woman leave her water jar and run into town excitedly telling people "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did," (v. 29) really struck me. Do you understand what really happened there?   
Jesus told the woman about her sin and she excitedly went back to town telling people to come meet this man.  Why would a woman invite the town to come see the man who confronted her with her adultery?  Because the man was not just any man.  He was the Messiah!  He showed her the gravity of her sin problem along with the only real God ordained solution. 
On Good Friday, we remember and celebrate the real, final, God ordained solution for the world's sin problem.  "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).  On Good Friday, at the cross, we see our wickedness, total depravity, and ungodliness.  At the same time we must realize that "God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us"  (Romans 5:8).
 So why is this Good Friday different than other Good Friday?
Good Friday, 2020, is a very different Good Friday because it is a forced reminder that our worship is not about the WHERE.  On this Good Friday, whether you are watching a service online or doing something on your own at home, everyone needs remember that the WHO and the HOW are more important.  Our Good Friday "meetings" need to focus on Jesus, the one who is "indeed the savior of the world" (John 4:42).  They also need to remind us of what God did through Jesus Christ on the cross.  We need to remember on this Good Friday, and everyday, who we were without Christ and who we are with Christ.


Influential Work Leadership

This is the 4th of 5 posts on Influential Leadership from a class I was teaching at Trinity Baptist Church.
I have posted other Influential Leadership posts.

"The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day to have my soul happy in the Lord."  George Muller.

On a very personal note, my current circumstances, being out of vocational ministry for almost two years, and working at a warehouse have changed the way I have approached the topic of influential leadership at work.  I always knew people needed to live out their faith at work.  At the same time, I probably would have emphasized the impact of people's ministry at and through the church.  Church ministry was the most important ministry you could be involved in.  Through this time I have been reminded the HUGE ministry impact members can have in their individual workplaces for the kingdom of God.  

For many different reasons your co-workers may never set foot in your local church but that doesn't lessen the Gospel-influence, you may have in their lives.  Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ."  With this in mind, you are for the Lord and not men.  No matter what the job is my goal should be to bring God the glory.  

The Gospel at Work by Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger is a great resource designed to help Christians think about the why's and how's of work.  Much of the information below has been taken or adapted from this book. 

In talking about the Christian and work, two fallacies need to be corrected.  The first is "God helps those who help themselves."   This motto, which many people believe is a Bible verse, originated in Ancient Greece and was popularized by Benjamin Franklin.  While the Bible does encourage hard work, this motto goes against the heart of the Bible's message - God's power and grace (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 12:9).  The other is "Work is the result of sin."  In Genesis 1:28, before the fall, God gave Adam work to do.  As a result of the fall, work became difficult.

In this first of six short videos designed to help study the book, Traeger talks about the two extremes of making work an idol and being idle at work.  

In Appendix 2, the authors share a Biblical theology of work that is very helpful and encouraging to think through.  
God is a worker.  We are created in God's image.  Thus, we are created to be workers also.  Sin is a spiritual condition and made work hard, futile, and difficult.  Jesus worked and changes the way we work.  Work is worship, just as all of life is.

In this second video, Gilberts talks about why we work...
to love God (Matthew 22:37)
to love others (Matthew 22:39)
to reflect God's character (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15)
to earn and share resources (Proverbs 12:11; Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:10)
to enjoy it (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19)
to adorn the doctrine of God (Titus 2:9-10)

A basic summary of the Gospel at Work is "Work hard.  Work smart.  Trust God."  The company I work at, In On Time, is a Christian owned company.  Even with that being the case I, personally have the responsibility and the privilege to bring hope in Christ to work every day.  It is my prayer that my actions and words would show my co-workers that I love Jesus Christ and they need to trust Him as their Lord and Savior.  

Here are some additional resources on this topic:
Shelter-In-Place Notes:
The George Muller quote at the beginning of this post is very appropriate during this talk of essential/non-essential businesses.  As Christian workers, our happiness, joy, and satisfaction are in the Lord.  Not infallible business or governments.  We need to remember that and show that to those we work with. 

If you are an essential worker, first of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for what you are doing.  Second, please use this time to show co-workers, patients, and/or customers the Hope of Christ.

If you are not an essential worker, first of all, REMEMBER YOUR WORK IS IMPORTANT to your family and others and because it provides an opportunity for you to glorify God.  Second, as you interact with essential workers be kind and thankful.  Also, communicate to your kids and others the importance of work, even work at home. The Gospel Coalition posted a working from home prayer.

Pray regularly for your supervisors and co-workers.  Pray that God would use this time to draw them to Him.  Pray that God would give them wisdom in how to navigate their circumstances.

If possible find ways to communicate with people you work with.  This may be specific individuals or groups of people and can be done through text, email, social media, or other means.  The purpose would be to check up on them and let them know how you are doing.  

If you have other resources, additional comments or questions, please leave them in the comment section.


Lord of the Flies or Spring Break 2020

Yelling over one another.  


This could be a description of Lord of the Flies OR what I thought the Rodgers' house was going to be like during Spring Break 2020.

This week is NPC's Spring Break. I don't know about you, but after three weeks of shelter-in-home, online learning during a pandemic, the idea of Spring was a little scary. Krista and I came up with a plan of attack. We are two days in and it seems to be going well. I pray it continues this way, but if I am able : ), I will report back at the end of the week.

I wanted to share the why and what of our planning.


Because we want to keep our sanity.
Because we don't think a week of endless video games and movies is healthy.
Because we want to use this difficult time to help build some positive memories even if we don't go on a trip somewhere.
Because there are projects around the house that need to be done.


A plan for the week that doesn't account for every minute.  
A plan that has structure but also is flexible.
A plan that has purpose and fun.

So here is a snapshot of our work.

Monday was Work Day.

  • Everybody up and ready by 10:00 a.m. "Ready" meant dressed (actually dressed to go outside, not merely pajamas), breakfast eaten and devotions done.
  • From 10:00 am to 2:00 pm we organized our garage and boxes that have been in storage.
    • The fun thing for our family is we opened some boxes with stuff we had not seen in close to three years. It was fun to see the kids' reactions to toys, books, and other things. By kids, I also mean Krista and me. Krista found a box of cleaning supplies and decorations. I found some books I have been looking for.
  • We had a late lunch
  • During the afternoon we had a great time looking at picture books, playing with toys, chasing each other with Star Wars masks, lightsabers, and Nerf guns. O.K. it did look a little like Lord of the Flies at that point.
  • Ended the evening by watching an "old" movie The Incredibles while talking about some family memories.

End product. Hopefully, it will stay this way for a little bit.

Not sure if this is an approved protective mask.

Joel and Jadyn going through a box of legos we found.

Tuesday was Grow Day.
  • Everybody up ready by 9:00 a.m. "Ready" meant dressed and breakfast eaten.
  • Then we had an extended devotional time, about 20 minutes, from Colossians 3:12 - 17. We have been working through verses 12 and 13 before this week. Some great thoughts for our family, and every family, to remember. Here are the questions I asked each of us to answer.  
    1. The main idea of verses 12 and 13 is...
    2. Verse 14 is about...
    3. The main idea of verses 15 and 16 is...
    4. Verse 17 is about...
    5. The similarity between verses 14 and 17 is...
    6. The following lists appear is 12 - 17 (the title of the list and items in the list)
    7. Based on these verses I need to...
  • After this time we watched an episode of The Chosen, a VidAngel series on the ministry of Jesus. (we've been watching this over the past week)
  • Next, we had 40 minutes of reading. The reading had to be a physical book or magazine.
  • We ended our Grow time with an unplanned hike on some trails near our house.

The adults on the hike. Resting?

The kids on the hike. Exploring!!

Wednesday (today) is another Work Day, which will focus on yard work and if possible helping one of the neighbors with raking.

Thursday is another Work Day, which will focus on indoor spring cleaning.

Friday is a Free Day, not sure what this means but I know it will not be going to an amusement park, zoo, movie theater. This day will also involve reflecting on Jesus Christ's death and what it means for us.

There are a couple of things that have helped the first two days go pretty well.  
First of all, Krista and I tried not to have unrealistic expectations about what could get done each day. Second, we have been flexible with our plans. There is a lot more I would have liked to have done, but I realized we had spent a big chunk of time doing some excellent stuff, so we did the hike instead of some other activities I planned. Finally, we have taken time to pray with and explain to the kids what we are doing.  

There have been arguments, a little complaining, even taking laps around the block to run off crazy energy - social distancing was practiced. Everyone seems to be having a good time and we have had opportunities to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience (Colossians 3:12) and help each other when this isn't the case.


Influential Family Leadership

This is the 3rd of 5 posts on Influential Leadership from a class I was teaching at Trinity Baptist Church.
I have posted other Influential Leadership posts.

The goal for each family member should be to glorify God and help other family members do the same.

Our families provide each of us a great opportunity to grow in God's grace and to show God's grace to others.  

While this post is specifically about parenting, we need to remember that family is so much more than parent/child relationships.  Churches are made up of many different families and each of them needs to be discipled.  Some singles have varying types of relationships with their parents and siblings, widows and widowers, empty nesters, husband and wife with no children, and others.  Each and every one of us has family relationships that should be growing.  

Paul Tripp's Parenting video (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MDlMI7B4a2Az) challenges parents to think of themselves as ambassadors of God in our children's lives.  We need to pray and act with this reality in mind.  Here is a video about one of the 14 Gospel principles.

 Three other resources related to Tripp's book Parenting:  14 Gospel Principles 

There are many parenting books and resources out there.  The ones in this post have been shared because of their Gospel focus.  Here is part of the book that demonstrates this point.
If I were to ask you what the best, most practical, most helpful parenting passage in all the Bible was, what would you answer. 
Most biblically literate Christian parents would run to Ephesians 6:1-4, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  'Honor your father and mother' (this is the first commandment with a promise), 'that may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  (ESV) 
Those are wonderfully helpful verses, but there's another passage that's almost never mentioned in the context of parenting.  These words, straight from the mouth of the Messiah, contain everything you need to know and understand in order to experience the rest and courage of heart that fuels good, godly, perseverant parenting.

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age."  (Matthew 28:18-20)
The Great Commission?  Yes!  I cannot think of any directive more appropriate to every Christian parent than this one.  Here's why:
Your job as a Christian parent is to do everything within your power, as an instrument in the hands of the Redeemer who has employed you, to woo, encourage, call, and train your children to willingly and joyfully live as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.  
From Paul Tripp's Wednesday Word devotional
We need to understand that parenting is a discipleship opportunity that needs to be soaked in prayer.  Here are some specific things you can pray for your children, grandchildren, and children you know.
  1. Pray that Jesus will call them and no one will hinder them from coming.
  2. Pray that they will respond in faith to Jesus' faithful, persistent call.
  3. Pray that they will experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will increasingly desire to fulfill the greatest commandments.
  4.  Pray that they will not be unequally yoked in intimate relationships, especially marriage.
  5. Pray that their thoughts will be pure.
  6. Pray that their hearts will be stirred give generously to the Lord's work.
  7. Pray that when the time is right, they will GO!!

Here are some additional family worship resources

Seeds Family Worship's "The Good Song" which is taken from Psalm 3.

Seeds Family Worship has a great youtube channel you will want to check out.

Don Whitney and Justin Taylor

11 Reasons to Worship With Your Family  

The What, When and How of Family Worship  

How We Do Family Worship  

Come Follow a Failure  

Family Devotion Failure and of All Days  

Shelter In Place Notes (added after the post was originally published):

This stay-at-home time provides many families with the unique opportunity to take more purposeful time to begin some habits that should continue after the quarantine is done.

During this time, how you worship with and talk about your church will have a huge impact on how your family - those stuck in your house with you and those who are elsewhere    - think about the church, the Bride of Christ.
During this time, how you use your time and encourage your family to use their will teach others what is most important.  While serving as the pastor of children and family worship at Emmanuel Baptist Church, I encouraged fathers and families to do family worship at least once a week.  My goal in this was helping busy families see the impact of consistent time in God's Word could have on them and their families.  The hope was it would grow into much more than just once a week but that was a start.  This shelter-in-place time has allowed so many families to do so much more than once a week.  

"Disruption creates a wonderful opportunity for us to establish new spiritual habits in our families."  from "Family Worship Starts Now" at The Gospel Coalition

The April 8th post "Lord of the Flies OR Spring Break 2020" is about what Krista and I are trying to do during our quarantined spring break.

If you have other resources, additional comments or questions, please leave them in the comment section.