Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Homeschooling Today® Under New Management!

Homeschooling Today® magazine Changes Hands—McDonalds Remain as Consulting Editors

The Murphy and Howard families take over production of Homeschooling Today magazine, the most respected publication for homeschoolers on the market.

Abingdon, VA, March 6, 2007: Homeschooling Today® magazine has a new management team. Veteran homeschoolers and parents of seven (soon to be eight) children, Steve and Kara Murphy, along with fellow homeschooling leaders, Jim Bob and Amy Howard, have taken over the helm of the most respected homeschool related magazine in the nation. The new team is keeping some familiar faces around, namely, James and Stacy McDonald, whose names have become synonymous with the magazine over the last five years.

Since 1992, Homeschooling Today magazine has established a tradition of excellence, beauty, and timely relevance to today’s homeschooling family. Packed with encouragement and practical helps for homeschool parents who work hard day in and day out to train up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, Homeschooling Today magazine delivers the resources homeschoolers around the world have come to rely upon, from regular departments to book and product reviews, and from popular unit studies to academic helps.

The McDonalds have laid a strong foundation, making Homeschooling Today magazine a respected asset to homeschooling families everywhere. As contributing editors, they will continue to provide wise counsel to the governance of the magazine, to its readers through their writing, and to homeschoolers nationwide as popular keynote speakers.

“We have so appreciated James and Stacy and their leadership of Homeschooling Today magazine, and we look forward to pursuing further the vision they have communicated,” says Steve Murphy. Steve, and his wife, Kara, bring to the magazine a decade of business management expertise, as well as leadership within the homeschooling community. Serving as a regional support group board member, Steve has lead the charge to exhort homeschooling fathers/husbands to assume their God-given duty to be the leader of their homes, including sanctifying their wives and educating their children. He has provided for his growing homeschooling family by starting and running his own successful construction business, where he has had the privilege of leading several apprentices, helping some of them launch their own construction ventures. “If you were to squeeze him really hard, discipleship is what would come out,” declares Kara. A respected unit study writer, Kara has already been serving as a staff editor for Homeschooling Today magazine. The Murphys live in Southwest Virginia with their seven children.

Parents of four children, the Howards have been homeschooling since their oldest son was five. Jim Bob has served homeschoolers in many capacities: as a regional support group board member, conference host, newsletter editor, writer, and as assistant to homeschool author and speaker, Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr., a regular columnist of Homeschooling Today magazine. Jim Bob also spent several years in information technology, primarily in application and web development.

Amy is the gracious helpmeet of Jim Bob, assisting him in his role as editor-in-chief and has served as assistant editor under her husband on Every Thought Captive, the newsletter of the Highlands Study Center. A gifted writer, she has already garnered a following of women who look to her for encouragement in their role as wife and mother through her contributions to Homeschooling Today magazine’s regular department, Hearth and Homeschool.

Homeschooling Today magazine has taken on new energy with the addition of the Murphys and Howards to the management team, allowing the McDonalds to direct their energies in a more focused manner toward leading their local church in Peoria, Illinois, where James serves as Teaching Elder. James says, “We love Homeschooling Today magazine but know God is calling us to focus our energy directly on the ministry of the church. We are confident Steve and Jim Bob are uniquely qualified to carry on the vision we have sought to instill in the publication.”

“We view our role as magazine publishers in light of Scripture’s teaching about the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem,” explains Jim Bob. “In Nehemiah, the Israelites returning from exile were called to rebuild the wall around the city. To complete the job, each family worked on the portion of the wall nearest their own house, holding building materials in one hand and a sword in the other. When the trumpet blew, everyone was to rally to the fight to defend the population. Many homeschooling families today find themselves in a similar situation. The ancient boundary stones of Christ’s truth in our culture have been broken down. Each family is working to rebuild the wall in their own lives. They work around the clock to build into their children’s lives the truth of Scripture, while holding (and equipping their children with) the sword of God’s Word to defend against the encroaching worldview of society at large.” Jim Bob further explains, “Our job is to serve Christ by helping families rebuild the ruins, encouraging them to stand strong against the tide of the culture, and sounding the rally cry to ‘circle the wagons’ against any imminent threat to homeschooling freedom.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

Returning to Patriarchy

My friend Danny wants to know: "Is it possible to "turn" a passive father into an active leader?"

I say, Yes, in the same way a wife "turns" her husband into an active leader… Leaders need followers—submissive followers—those who line up on the same team by choice.

But, where the difference comes in is… whereas a wife has a duty and obligation to submit to her own husband, a grown man does not have that same duty and obligation to his father.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. —Gen. 2:24
We are nonetheless to honor our father and mother our entire lives that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. (Eph. 6:2-3; cf. Ex. 20:12) So you "turn" your father into a leader by honoring him, seeking his advice as one who is wise. He's lived longer than you have… he's made some mistakes from which he has learned valuable lessons; ask him about them—not in such a way that he'll feel ridiculed, but as a request from a son who wants to learn from the wisdom of his father.

Psalm 78 is a call for men to speak to their children and grandchildren (and through them, their great- and great-great-grandchildren—that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children [v.6]) about the things of God, what He has taught them, what He has done. If your father doesn't acknowledge God's hand in his life, perhaps you can help your children see it… and through them, help your father see it. But, even if your father doesn't acknowledge God, you are building a "story" of God's faithfulness to tell to your children and grandchildren, that you may be the faithful patriarch you are called to be.

To honor means to "place a high value on" something. If you place a high value on your father's wisdom and experience, you are doing what God commands. Follow the example of 1 Peter 3:1-2:

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
It's not a long walk to apply the same principle to honoring parents:

Sons and daughters, likewise, be honoring to your own mothers and fathers, that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word, may be won by the conduct of their children, when they observe your humility accompanied by fear.
As I often tell my children, it is "not your concern" how someone responds to your actions… if your actions are obedient and righteous. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18). The same applies to your efforts to love your wife, train up your children, love the brethren… and honor your parents. As much as depends on you means reading only the exhortations to you:
• "Honor your father and your mother…,"
• "Husbands, love your wives…,"
• "Fathers, do not provoke your children…,"
• "Love the Lord your God…,"
• "Impress them on your children…,"
• "I will open my mouth… I will utter dark sayings of old… [and] will not hide them from their children…"
…and not those that pertain to how others should treat you. Focus on your responsibilities and leave the rest to God.

Remember that God gave you your father. And He commands you to honor him. It's YOU He's after!

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Family Meal Table is "Pure Nostalgia?"

The kids won't behave. We work late. We sold our dining room table. Who wants to cook these days?

And the kids don't want to eat with mom and dad anyway.

Those are just a few of the reasons parents are showing a declining interest in dining with their children.

--John A. Blankenship, Point Blank, The Register-Herald
Blankenship goes on to lament that the afternoon family meal went out "with black-and-white television." One poor misguided mom admits, "It's too much bother to cook a meal nowadays. It's much easier to hit the drive-thru on the way home than it is to plan an entire meal and cook it. There just isn't enough time."

Praise God that He is restoring the family, turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, so that Mr. Blankenship's assessment that "the happy family meal is pure nostalgia" happily misses the mark.

There are many flaws to the arguments for "why" Blankenship believes it to be nostalgia... and even larger gaps in his interviewee selection skills. (Sorry, John, but a couple of colleagues and teenagers hanging out at the mall do not a random sample make.)

For example, he's got it all figured out why families don't eat dinner together anymore. "Reason: Too many parents work. It takes two incomes just to keep up with the mortgage payments." Question: Which came first: the mortgage, or a family economy with both parents working?

And he's a bit quick to sign the family meal table's death certificate. "The American family meal—by which most people mean the evening meal—has been dead for so long that chances for reviving it seem remote at best." Ken and Devon Carpenter, Colin and Nancy Campbell and Doug and Beall Phillips would beg to differ. In fact, their family meal tables are not only continuing to thrive, but are breathing life into dining rooms across the country with their godly example and heritage.

I pray Mr. Blankenship's colleague (at the Register-Herald?) will pick up a copy of "The Family Meal Table" and that she and her husband will reclaim their family; redeeming the evening meal, shaking off past defeat, and raise up a godly generation that will be "the family of [her] dreams."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Today, I was reading Oswald Chambers' daily devotional from "My Utmost for His Highest," and it gives a picture not only of how to actually apply his collection's title, but also how I am to be toward my children.

Chambers instructs us not to see Jesus primarily as Teacher because what He teaches is unattainable. If we look at Him as only "fixing" our ignorance by downloading the way we should act, and then go try to do it in our own strength, we will fail. We must realize that the teaching is intended to lead us to despair of our own ability to perform it. Our sin-rent bodies are incapable of pleasing God, even if we know how to. When we try to do it on our own, we will inevitably break on some obstacle. Then, we may come to Him as paupers, empty-handed, and receive strength and ability to perform what He teaches. As Chambers says:

But when I am born again of the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come to teach only: He came to make me what He teaches I should be. The Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the disposition that ruled His own life, and all the standards God gives are based on that disposition.

This is what Jesus rebukes about in Matthew 23:4. He comes to us and reverses the hypocritical attitude of "do as I say, not as I do" and tells us, when it comes to to obeying the scribe and Pharisees (those who "sit in Moses' seat") we should only do as they say and not as as they do. What they "do" is nothing to help.

My pastor has hermeneutical principle (rule for interpreting Scripture) that he names after himself and encourages people to use when reading the Bible. It goes like this: "When you see someone doing something really stupid in the Bible, do not think, 'How could they be so stupid?' Rather, ask yourself the question, 'How am I this stupid?'"

Here is where we should use that principle as fathers.

Jesus told the multitude and his disciples not to act like the scribes and Pharisees. "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." When training our children, we must not pile burden after burden on them, instructing them to godliness, but doing nothing to help them achieve it. We paint a very ugly picture of our Father in heaven, when we simply download Scripture, precept-upon-precept, "heavy burdens, hard to bear," into our children's heads, admonishing them without nurturing (training) them (Eph. 6:4).

We must not act that way toward them. When we give them instructions, we must also help them do it. This is what training is; showing how to do it. And not in the classic medical way: "watch one, do one, teach one." We need to continue to help until they have so accomplished the task that they begin helping us. That's when we know they don't need our help to accomplish it anymore.

Oh, and by the way, we can't even do that. Again, Jesus is the only Source that can work in us to accomplish this task. And not only do we need to draw from that Source when training our children, but must also point to that Source so they'll know from whence comes our strength.

Only when we trust in Christ alone to help our children trust in Christ alone have we actually trained them to come to Him poor in spirit and give their utmost for His highest!

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Family Meal Table

One of the things the Lord has introduced me to in the last year is the concept of the family meal table. And I mean more than the table where the family has meals... I mean a regular (nightly, if possible) event where Dad directs the discussion, loving the Lord his God with all his heart, soul and strength, keeping His commands on his heart and impressing them on his wife and children and guests as they sit in their house, around a meal, full of fellowship and love for one another.

I first experienced this when I was the guest of the Doug Phillips family in San Antonio last September. I had the privilege of sharing two evening meals at the Phillips table and they were both memorable. The first evening, there was Doug at the head of the table, pontificating—as his wife, Beall, so aptly defined it; there were the seven children—one at Doug's right hand, one at his left; the others interspersed among the guests; and there were the guests—seven interns, two employees, two young ladies who had helped prepare the meal, my boss and me. Doug led the conversation, from the personal events of the day, to local events, to national events. He taught us history, exhorted his interns to be men, encouraged his children to stand fast for Christ in the face of adversity. He led prayer, read the Bible and quizzed everyone at the table on American history, Bible memory verses and events of the day. It lasted at least two hours. The next evening, the guest list was a little shorter, but dinner wasn't—nor was the teaching.

At the time, I thought this was a unique experience to the Doug Phillips family. And perhaps the way they do it is unique to them. But, I'm finding that this concept, though rare, is not unique. Last month, I posted on my main blog a write up of my experience before, during and after the Generations conference.

During a conversation before the conference, the topic of the family meal table came up:

In the conversation after the [Basement Tape] conversation, Doug asked [R. C. Sproul Jr.] to share some of his memories of great and godly men who had shared the family meal table with them when he was growing up. The ensuing conversation revealed a common thread between these two families in the way they had families meals. Both of the "second generation" families continue the tradition of a father teaching his children at the family meal table, with differences of style and content, of course. [Read more...]

Since then, I've sat at several other tables where Dad has led the discussion

Last weekend, I was discussing that experience with Ken Carpenter, who has also dined at Doug's table. And last weekend, I was privileged to dine at Ken's table, as he lead the conversation, helping each of us to speak of things noble, good, excellent and praiseworthy. Different style, different context, different content; but we all learned under his faithful tutelage.

All of these men fear the Lord and their wives are fruitful vines—fragrant, peaceful and full of blessings—in the heart of their homes; their children are indeed olive shoots—full of potential and promise—round about their tables. The Bible promises in Psalm 128 that this is what comes to every one who fears the Lord. And this the Psalm Nancy Campbell draws from in Ken's latest work: The Family Meal Table, which we picked up during our recent visit to Franklin.

This is not a new concept to the Campbell family. "The Family Meal Table" is also part of the title of another resource produced by Mrs. Campbell's ministry, Above Rubies, a workbook written by Nancy, "The Family Meal Table and Hospitality," which she mentions in the video and is available from her website for $20. I've not read it yet, but plan to get it after watching the video.

Ken has produced a quality treatment of the concept of the father-led family meal table, with hopes that many Christian dads will catch the vision to redeem the time and reform their family meal times; being faithful to teach their children (and those yet to be born) who God is, what God has done and what God requires. In addition to hearing from the Campbell family, we're also introduced to three other families around the country who are returning to the family meal table and made it a special time for their family.

The video is an invitation to a feast; it'll change the way you look at your table.

Order now...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Why I am Against Bikini Clad Girls and Bare Chested Boys Swimming in My Lake

by Scott Brown

Some would say, "Scott you have changed, why the change?" So, let's answer the question. What has caused me to re-think bikini clad girls and bare chested boys swimming in my lake. There are at least five things that have caused the change...

Keep reading...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Squire and the Scroll and The Princess and the Kiss

by Jennie Bishop

The Squire and the Scroll
A tale of the rewards of a pure heart

A menacing villain. An impossible quest. A dangerous journey. The Squire and the Scroll will hold readers' attention as it subtly carries them toward commitment to its theme: protecting and preserving a pure heart.

Order The Squire and the Scroll

The Princess and the Kiss
A story of God's gift of purity

A loving King and Queen, on the day she is born, present their daughter with a gift from God — her first kiss — to keep or to give away. The wise princess waits for the man who is worthy of her precious gift.

Order The Princess and the Kiss

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Pots and Vats

by Douglas Wilson

Once there were two boys playing in the back yard. They were both good friends, and they got along well for the most part. But one of them had a quick temper, and occasionally he would lose it, and I have to say he had hurt his good friend more than once.

But the curious thing about this temper of his is that his father had never seen it. Everyone else had, but when his father was around, he never seemed to lose control they way he did at other times. This made his father very curious, because he did not know what everyone else was talking about.

As I said these two boys were playing in the back yard, and on this day, the hot-tempered boy’s father was home, standing in the kitchen, talking with his wife.

Suddenly his mother said, "There! There it is!" Coming in through the open window were loud, angry shouts, and so the father stepped out on to the back porch....

Keep reading...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Where we were for two weekends in October...

by Dakota Tremayne

"The first time my family and I attended worship at St. Peter, we were overwhelmed with the depth of reverence of the congregation. So much happened within that short period of time that I could not grasp it all; yet I could not get enough. Confession, absolution, congregational prayers, singing... Laurence even preached from the Bible without using polls, pop psychology, or stupid jokes (you know, the court jester never could lead true worship). After my soul was tossed, turned, purged, filled, then moved, I knelt at the Lord's Table to eat and drink of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. Space is far too limited for me to describe my awe. At several moments my wife wept. What happened in there? she asked me as we left. That was worship, my dear. Worship."

Keep reading...

[JBH: I met Dakota (and his wife) during our visit to St. Peter (we went "to Bristol, VA," but it had nothing to do with Bristol—we went to be a part of this church for a week). Upon returning home, I found this article by him, which comes close to describing our experience as a part of this body. Dakota's a great guy, a faithful brother and a fast friend. If you visit, tell him I said, "Hi."]

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Harder Than Loving My Enemies

by Valerie [Kyriosity]

"If we cannot look at our most vexatious adversary in the Church, and be eager for the opportunity to kneel in the dust and wash his feet, then we need to repent. If we are not praying for him (yes, it's OK to pray for his repentance as part of praying for his well-being), then we need to repent."

Keep reading...