When Thieves Break-In and Steal

Below is a copy of what I shared with a fellow Christian after thieves broke in and stole some precious possessions. The remarks were made with a desire to intentionally pastor this family during a time when they rightfully feel angry and violated.

Pastors, we must remember that we play a role in the lives of the flock we under-shepherd. In season and out.

I was very sorry to hear about the break-in. I know you know the Scriptures that one day our material possessions will be destroyed by rust or moth or the flame of God’s refining fire. Even though you’ve probably known those Scriptures from childhood, you should not be quick to force yourself to look past the break-in and assume a posture of stoicism.

It is right to grieve and process. It is right to grieve and process in a way that is God-honoring.

Gratefully, Holy Spirit empowers and equips us to view our grief and emotions through the lens of Christ’s redemptive work.

It is right to…

1) be sad that those things for which you’ve worked hard were taken from you, against your knowledge and power
2) be sad for the presence of sin in the world that causes other humans who bear the Divine Image (Imago Dei) to act against God’s holy intent and purpose
3) be sad for a broken world that causes others to lack so deeply (economically and spiritually) that they look to provide for themselves by stealing from others
4) be sad for these thieves who are in need of spiritual repair
5) be glad that your once-spiritually-broken lives have been spiritually repaired in the atoning death and resurrection of Christ Jesus
6) be glad that His Spirit allows us to receive Divine forgiveness and extend that forgiveness to others
7) be glad His Spirit empowers us to pray for our enemies, even when we don’t feel like doing so
8) be glad that your prayers can directly affect the spiritual renewal of these thieves
9) be glad no one was home and put in harm’s way
10) be glad for having a good neighbour who keeps eyes on your place and understands the importance of community
11) be glad that you’re part of the Church; whereby, if you are in need of household items or emotional support, you can have that need fulfilled by your faith family
12) be glad that one day Jesus will return to make all things new. We will never again have to live in fear.

You mentioned you’ve made plans to build a fence around your house and install an alarm as a means of protection. I want to make one comment on the fence. Before I do, let me clarify: you must make decisions you feel are wise, as you walk in step with the Spirit considering your cultural context and family’s needs. Here’s my comment on the fence: please ask God if this is what you must do. I want to encourage you to consider the social and communal cost of enclosing yourself from the community and isolating yourself. Though the fence may provide a sense of security, will it come at the cost of placing a physical barrier between you and your neighbours? [The alarm makes complete sense.]

To be clear – and I hope you sense my tone of pastoral compassion – I’m not suggesting the fence is wrong. We don’t want to test God.
I’m just simply asking you to ask God if the fence may cause a physical barrier to your family being the light of the world on your street. God in His good and wise providence placed your family on that particular street, on that particular block, on that particular plot of land. Maybe the fence is the right thing to do, maybe it’s just an emotional knee-jerk reaction. I don’t know, and I won’t be the judge of that. Again, you must make that decision for your family. I’m just following through with a pastoral thought for you to consider; and thank you for extending such kindness and courtesy to me if you’re still reading this! ūüôā

A final promise from our Lord:

Christ is our Light and our Salvation, whom shall I fear? Christ is the stronghold of my life, I will not be afraid. – Psalm 27.1-2

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, LORD God, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4.8

Thank you for the privilege and honour of shepherding you and your family.

A fellow disciple and a fellow learner in the ways of Providing and Protecting as Husband and Father,


Guest Post: Valentine’s Day

Drew Dilday wrote an article in preparation of the late-winter event sponsored by Cupid: Valentine’s Day.

I was challenged by Drew’s redemptive and thoughtful approach to Valentine’s Day. I typically procure a box of chocolate-covered cherries and make a half-hearted offer to go to dinner. You don’t really want to fight the crowd and traffic do you? [By the way, the chocolate-covered cherries can be found deeply discounted when purchased on or after Feb 15.]

Drew’s article is below. You’ll enjoy his writing style. And you’ll be convinced to get those chocolates on time.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rank your excitement and anticipation of Valentine‚Äôs Day? Are you eager for it, or do you simply endure it? Is it a holiday, or is it a humbug? Do you take advantage of it, or does it take advantage of you? Hallmark has long been the scapegoat for husbands who don‚Äôt necessarily identify themselves as the ‚Äúhopeless romantic‚ÄĚ type. And to an extent, this Hallmark goat has been justly scaped. Poor goat. Smart businesses know how to prey on their predators, and Valentine‚Äôs Day has been a rather appealing bait for the na√Įve and lovesick prey.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† But I say we give this goat a break. The truth is, Valentine‚Äôs Day is a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate love and affection for your spouse. The holiday serves as an annual reminder, much like Thanksgiving and Christmas, to celebrate what we should be celebrating all along. And what exactly are we celebrating on Valentine‚Äôs Day? We are celebrating covenant love‚ÄĒthat is, the affection and compassion we express to our spouses within the context of commitment. Isn‚Äôt it astounding that on Valentine‚Äôs Day people all over the world will be celebrating covenant love, most of whom have never tasted the fount of covenant love, which is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? And yet these lovers are willing to spend exorbitant amounts on dinner reservations, flower bouquets, hotel getaways and ‚Ķ yes, Hallmark cards.

If this is how the world celebrates Valentine‚Äôs Day, how much more should Christians, who have been granted the distinct privilege of knowing God‚Äôs covenant love first-hand, celebrate Valentine‚Äôs Day with gusto? Christians are those who have drunk deeply from the fount of covenant love, which flows from God in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us, ‚ÄúGod demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.‚ÄĚ God‚Äôs love was of the kind that necessitated expression and demonstration. He didn‚Äôt just tell us he loved us. He demonstrated it. In the same way, our love for our spouses must not only be verbalized, but demonstrated. This is especially the case for husbands, whose love for their wives is divinely intended to model gospel realities. The gospel turns us sinners into lovers‚ÄĒand not only lovers, but lovers who love to demonstrate the covenant love that has already been demonstrated to us. The Christian understands, as Tim Keller has said, that ‚Äú[God] loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely.‚ÄĚ It is on this basis that the Christian is called and even compelled to celebrate Valentine‚Äôs Day with gusto.

So, make a reservation. Grab a bouquet. Buy a card. Feed the Hallmark goat. But do so with the love of God pulsating through your veins and enlivening you to deeper and deeper loveliness. We know that man was not made for Valentine‚Äôs Day, but Valentine‚Äôs Day was made for man. So celebrate covenant love on this holiday‚ÄĒfor the glory of Christ.



NPR “Fresh Air” Interview on the Paradox of Modern Parenthood

During the course of my normal news.google.com pursuits, that link caught my eye. I nodded along, as if the fact needed me to verify the veracity and insight of Jennifer Senior’s book, All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.

Some of the comments caught my attention, particularly this one:


‚ÄĘ 3 days ago

As somebody very happily without children, I will never understand how one can be absolutely miserable and happy at the same time. I often suspect people are making this stuff up. I listen to my friends with kids, and all they do is complain, complain, complain, they are so stressed, so tired, they have no time for themselves, all the things they can’t do because of the kids, etc. Sometimes I wonder if some parents don’t claim to be happy only because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do. Like they’d be considered terrible parents if they ever dared say it’s not as fun as they thought, or as society makes it up to be. I never wanted kids, but I think if the thought was ever to cross my mind to have them, all I have to do is spend an evening with other parents and hear their miseries to cure me.

Makes one wonder if the modern trends track with the trajectory of God’s eternal wisdom. Maybe. Maybe not. But the scenario demands a response to the question How shall I now [or then] parent?.