Category Archives: Church & Culture

5 Things We Know Based on the Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage

We’ve all been processing the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling declaring: “that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.”  Many have asked: “What are the implications of this ruling for House on the Rock Family Ministries?”  My answer has been: “I honestly don’t know!

But here are five things that I honestly do know:

God “created” marriage.  It was not “passed” into existence by voters, legislators or justices.  So, House on the Rock is, and will continue to be, fully committed to the Biblical truth that marriage is the union between one man and one woman in a lifelong covenant relationship with their God and each other.

God is sovereign.  He turns the hearts of kings and courts (Proverbs 21).  The cultural slide leading to this unbiblical decision didn’t catch Him off guard.  In fact, I believe God wants to use what appears to be a “tragic” decision to become the “wakeup” call for the Church in what may be the “last” days!

It’s time for us … the Bride of Christ … to rise up and show the world what the love of God looks like.  The state of the Church’s marital unions determines the state of our American union!  The condition of our marriages and families speak volumes to a lost and watching world.  So we must double down to protect, nourish, and pray for our marriages because they are the only Gospel that many will ever see.

So you … husbands … love your wives and be the sacrificial servant leaders of your families.  We have no higher calling!  You wives, love and respect your husbands –walk beside them and encourage them.  You have no higher calling.

God so loved the “world” … and all of the sinners in the world … including you and me.  Truth is … God loves all those in the LGBT community too!  These are men and women who need a Savior.  Our job is to show them how the love of Christ works in our lives … so they can see the need for it to be at work in their lives.  Remember we are not the judge …

God is the Supreme Judge whose “laws” cannot be overturned.  He will ultimately administer His grace and justice perfectly.

God is the same yesterday … today … and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  He does not change and His Word endures forever.  In these rapidly challenging and changing days we cling to our unchanging God and His Word.

We should mourn this ungodly decision … this is a sad day for America; and the consequences of re-defining God’s ordained institution will be felt for generations.  But let us not lose sight of tremendous opportunity for the Gospel it presents to us.

Join us for a Marriage Retreat in Lancaster .. or Cape May!

Join us in beautiful Cape May, NJ – September 18 – 20, 2015

join us in cape may

or at the …

 Lancaster Host Resort, PA – Marriage Retreat and Special Guest Musician – Matt & Kim Goss – October 9 – 11, 2015

Dr. Bruce and Karen McCracken, founders of House on the Rock Family Ministries will lead you and your spouse through a weekend filled with laughter, romance and re-connection.

Bruce and Karen have been married for over 40 years and have been leading couples events for 25 years.  They bring practical advice for couples … filled with grace that has been tempered by their experience together.

Matt and Kim Goss have been married for 19 years. Matt has been on staff as Worship Pastor of LCBC Church in Manheim, PA since 1999.  In that time the church grew from 700 to over 10,000 people! He is a featured worship leader and speaker at Integrity Music Seminars and many other conferences each year.

Kim is also a prolific singer, songwriter and worship leader. Her much anticipated debut CD was released in Feb. 2011.

Additional Resources to Grow Your MarriageMarriage intensives

What is a “Fan the Flame Marriage Intensive”?

Our marriage intensives are more than a couple’s weekend retreat. They are intimate, personalized coaching sessions designed to help you identify and address your specific needs. Intensives are more powerful than one hour counseling sessions because they keep you both focused on your issues for an extended period of time. You will receive over 15 hours of personalized counseling, coaching and marriage building exercises that will fan the flame of your marriage back to life.

Click here for more information or to schedule a Marriage Intensive now!

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Filed under Church & Culture, Family, Fan the Flame Marriage Devotional, Marriage/Family

Becoming a Proverbs Parent – The Disney Channel Dilemma

My children are in the stage of life where they enjoy watching the Disney Channel on TV.  When the channel was launched back in 1983 (yes, that long ago!) it mainly aired the cartoons and movies of Mickey, Donald, and all their friends that Walt Disney Studios had built its entertainment empire on.  Gradually original programming was developed just for the TV channel, and today those classic cartoons are rarely shown.  Still, for many parents and grandparents the Disney Channel represents “safe” viewing for their kids.

While it is probably true that the content on the Disney Channel is not nearly as violent and sex-saturated as the content on other popular channels, that doesn’t mean that all of the Disney programming is necessarily “wholesome.”  Here is a partial listing of the Disney Channel’s current (non-animated) lineup:

Good Luck Charlie – The show is centered on a large family composed of mom, dad, 3 teens and 2 very small children.  Most of the episodes revolve around the kids tricking either each other or their parents in order to get what they want.  Occasionally the parents scheme against each other as well.  The dad is portrayed as being something of a doofus and the mom is a bit prone to wanting the spotlight to shine on her.

Shake It Up – The latest in a long line of music-themed Disney shows.  Shake It Up revolves around two teenage girls who are selected to be on a Chicago dance show.  Much of the show’s content revolves around the girls getting into (and then out of) crazy schemes.  The girl’s parents are very much peripheral characters, with both of their fathers rarely seen or even mentioned on air.  The one girl’s mother is a police officer who constantly lies about her age and often gets into arguments with other characters on the show.  The other girl’s mother owns two beauty salons (a reoccurring theme across Disney programming is that all parents have jobs that involve long hours and keep them away from home), and much of her interaction with her children involves keeping secrets from their absentee father.

Austin and Ally – A teenage boy secretly records a song written by his friend, a talented young lady.  He posts the video on Youtube as his own work and becomes an overnight sensation.  Each show revolves around the two teens and their friends pursuing fame and fortune.  Of course, each of the main characters has a different idea as to how to achieve those goals, and often do things behind each other’s back.  Parents are almost completely absent from this show.

Code 9 – A prank show where the kids of a family scheme together to pull off an elaborate prank on one or both of their unsuspecting parents.

Gravity Falls – Two tweens are sent away by their parents to live with their great-uncle who is obsessed with making money, sometimes resorting to cheating or dishonest schemes to do so.  When he is not trying to make money, the great-uncle watches TV.

Sense a theme here?  The kids in these shows are all involved in scheming, lying, and cheating in each show, and the parents are all either missing entirely or barely engaged in their children’s lives.  I wonder what Walt Disney would think of this!

Now, to be clear, I am not suggesting that if you allow your kids to watch these shows or the myriad of others like it you are a bad parent.  As I mentioned, my kids watch Disney as well.  What I am suggesting, however, is that parents need to take time to find out what morals and values these shows revolve their storylines around.  Then parents need to decide if these shows are really something they want their kids watching or if they at least need to watch the shows with their kids.  In fact, watching programming like these shows with our kids and pointing out the poor character traits and decision making can actually be helpful.   We just can’t think that just because something is on Disney it is “OK!”

In Proverbs 6:16-19 Solomon lists 7 things that the Lord hates:

There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (NIV)

God does not approve of folks who are proud of themselves, lie or withhold truth, bring harm to others (by word or by deed), devise schemes, foolishly rush into sin, and stir up dissension and discord within a group of people.  God does not approve of the schemer – one who lies, cheats, and steals in order to get what they want or to make themselves look good to others.  Yet far too often the television shows that our children want to watch are centered on characters who seek to do that very thing!

To be sure, many (if not most) adult television programming also centers around plotting and scheming (virtually all “reality” programming is built on it), so we adults need to be judicious in what we watch as well.  While adults can (hopefully) see the foolishness in the scheming that occurs on the TV shows they watch, I’m not sure kids can.  As parents we need to be diligent in monitoring the media that our children consume, and not assume that just because a show is on a “kids” channel it is good for our kids to watch.

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Joseph: the unsung hero of Christmas

 We see him in every manger scene … standing at attention with a stare and slight smile looking over his staff at the baby in the manger.  Maybe you’re like me and don’t think too much about Joseph … the unsung hero of the Christmas story. 

Stop and think about it … Mary, Joseph’s finance’, gets pregnant before they’re married and had been together.  But his love for her was so strong that he wants to put her away quietly.  He could have had her stoned for apparently committing adultery.  

Before he can “put her away,” he is visited by the angel of the Lord and is told to take Mary as his wife.  He learns that she is carrying the promised Messiah who was conceived by the Holy Spirit to save God’s people from their sins.  He unquestionably believes and obeys.

Joseph lives, as does Mary with the stigma of being a couple that couldn’t wait.  He leads her to Bethlehem and Jesus is born as promised.  About a year or so later, after the Magi visit the young boy Jesus, Herod plots to kill the baby boys in the region to eliminate this threat of a new king.  The angel of the Lord comes again and says to Joseph: “Get up and take your family to Egypt.”  And the Bible says he rose … probably got up and got ready that night so that they were out of town before Herod’s men came to slaughter the boys of Nazareth.

After Herod dies and the threat of Jesus being killed has subsided, the angel appears again and tells Joseph to bring his family back to Israel.  Immediately he gets up and begins the process of bringing them “home.”  This wasn’t a three hour tour, it was a long haul in that day.  When Joseph returns he is afraid that Herod’s son wants to kill Jesus.  Again the angel of the Lord comes and tells him to go to Galilee … Nazareth.  He does so immediately.

Several lessons … from this unsung hero of the Christmas story …

Joseph was a selfless lover.  He loved Mary and Jesus more than his own personal reputation and comfort.  It wasn’t all about him.

He was a protector … his heart’s desire was to protect his fiancé’s reputation and her son’s life … he was concerned for their safety and well being.

He unquestionably obeyed God.   Joseph was apparently a Godly man and had a relationship with God to the point where he knew His voice and heard from him.  Four times the angel of the Lord came and gave him instructions and he obeyed without a second thought …

Lord, make me a man of God, a husband and a father like Joseph!

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