Today we are talking about sports. We love to enjoy a good football game, but sometimes (probably more than we would like to admit) the love of athletic competition crosses the line into sports idolatry.

Anything we are willing to sin to get or sin to keep becomes an idol, something we treasure more than the Lord. Let’s examine our mindset toward sports to make sure our priorities are in the correct order.

How much do sports effect your relationships with other people, your mood, and your responsibilities in other areas of your life? What does your relationships with sports communicate to your children about what you value? We need to make sure that our children see us treasuring the Lord above sports.

We talk about some ways to detect sports idolatry and also share some ways to fight the idols. Each of us share have stories of times in our lives when we have made sports too important in our lives. And we have a few commercials and crazy stories of people that have tragically taken their love of sports too far.

 

When Sports Replace God as Your Ultimate Treasure | Episode 14 | CongreGate Podcast

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Links and Recommendations:

Three Questions to Detect Sports Idolatry – by David E. Prince on The Gospel Coalition

Trophy Kids – documentary on Netflix or Amazon

Idolatry and Sports – short video by David Platt

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More and more, young men are dropping out of the labor force and withdrawing from leadership at work and in their homes. Today we talk about working hard in our jobs and in our homes to model a good work ethic and effective leadership to our children.

We discuss how we encourage our children to do chores, learning to manage work around the house. The work culture has shifted so that most of us can’t take our children to work to learn alongside us. It’s a challenge for dads to engage in training & discipling the children when they spend a large portion of the day away from the home. This means we have to work harder around the house to create these learning opportunities for our children.

We not only talk about encouraging our children to work hard physically, but also how to disciple and train them spiritually. As Christian men, we need to be able to delegate some of the training to our wives and other teachers, without becoming passive. It’s challenging to find a balance between “ruling with an iron fist” and abdicating our responsibilities as fathers. We also talk about how important wives roles are in encouraging husbands to lead well.

We discuss how we have, at times, needed other men to mentor and model good leadership to us. Many times, lack of leadership comes from not knowing the next right thing to do. Humbly asking for input from wise men, as well as our wives, can positively effect our families for eternity.

 

Effective Leadership at Work & Home | Episode 13 | CongreGate Podcast

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Links and Recommendations:

The Familyman Show with Todd Wilson

A Faithful Man by Mark Fox – more from Mark on Biblical leadership

 

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This week we are talking about some issues going on in the world and in the church regarding race and politics. People of all viewpoints are provoking “the other side” out of fear and confusion. We talk about some local protests and petitions that have been brought on by these tensions. Though the reaction to this election has been polarizing, we know the racial & political tension can be overcome by the gospel. The blood of Jesus brings unity and tears down boundaries between races and political parties. We discuss how the gospel must be the driving force to overcoming racial and political tension in this country.

We also discuss a book by Benjamin Watson, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, about racial reconciliation, Under Our Skin. He “offers a look at both sides of the race debate and appeals to the power and possibility of faith as a step toward healing.” We share one story from his book that is especially powerful.

We briefly share our thoughts on the election recounts. Mark talks about finishing an ultra-marathon last week and tells about an inspiring 72-year-old runner he met.

 

Overcoming Racial and Political Tension and More | Episode 12 | CongreGate Podcast

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Links and Recommendations:

Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson – the book Shawn recommended about racial reconciliation

 

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Today we discuss Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. How did Thanksgiving start? Why are so many Americans confused about who the Pilgrims were giving thanks to? When did shopping become such an important part of Thanksgiving?

We start off with a discussion of food—fresh backyard turkeys, bacon stuffed turkeys, and submarine Thanksgiving dinner—and move on to a discussion of extending hospitality and family Thanksgiving traditions.

We also talk about how Thanksgiving has become increasingly commercialized, with stores now opening on Thanksgiving day for Black Friday sales. Nordstrom takes a stand against Thursday shopping and REI encourages customers to skip Black Friday shopping altogether to #optoutside. Progress! But then comes “Cyber Monday” and “Giving Tuesday”…is this consumerism really what the the holiday is about? Is it good for our society, or does it have a negative impact on our family life?

And Shawn explains why he hates Thanksgiving dinner. (Hint: it has to do with the submarine food rotation…)

 

Are Ye Thankful or Are Ye Shopping? | Thanksgiving or Shopping...| Episode 11 | CongreGate Podcast

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Links and Recommendations:

Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation – “a day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer…by acknowledging with grateful hearts…the Almighty God.”

Turn Your Heart Towards Thanksgiving – the article by Mark we posted last week and referenced in the show

#optoutside – search for places to hike with your family

 

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I have asked my college students this question for several years, sometimes for extra credit in a quiz, sometimes just in conversation:

“When the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1623, to whom were they giving thanks?” The answers I get never cease to amaze me. Of course the number one answer every year is, “the Indians.” Over sixty percent of the students believe the pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians or the “king.” One student a few years ago said, “Columbus.” Really? Just under forty percent know the right answer.

I always explain to the students that they are not necessarily at fault because they have been taught in the public schools using “new and improved” textbooks. Call me crazy, but I trust the history books written before the 1950’s more than the ones today. For one thing, the older history books tell us that the Pilgrims had their first Thanksgiving celebration to give thanks to…God.

Turn Your Heart Towards Thanksgiving | Congregate Podcast

 

Dr. Paul Vitz, a professor of psychology at New York University, has studied the bias against religious references in public school texts. He reported, for example, the second grade text by Riverside (formerly Rand McNally) has 31 pages on the Pilgrims, but it describes them entirely without reference to religion.

One mother in an upper middle-class New York City suburb complained to the principal when her first grade son was told by his teacher that the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians. The mother said it was simply a historical fact that Thanksgiving was a time when the Pilgrims gave thanks to God, but the principal replied that the mother’s position “was just opinion and not documented fact,” and therefore the school could not teach it. The principal said, “they could only teach what was contained in the history books.”

This is what William Bradford, governor of the Plymouth Colony, said:

“…I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

I have an idea. No matter what the schoolbooks say now, why don’t we as parents start teaching our children the truth? Each year, spend some time the week before (or after) reading selections from William Bradford’s book, Of Plymouth Plantation. Or if you have younger children and you need something more on their level, read Stories of the Pilgrims, by Margaret Pumphrey. We have loved reading the chapters every year that lead up to and describe that first Thanksgiving. We want our children to know who the Pilgrims were and how God led them to America.

One more idea, if I may. Let’s keep Thanksgiving as a day of gathering with family, enjoying a meal and fellowship, and mostly, giving thanks to God for His many blessings. I can remember a day when you were hard pressed to find anything open on Thanksgiving Day, except for the occasional convenience store or gas station. Not any more. Black Friday now starts on Thursday evening with many major retailers. Or even earlier. A few holdouts, like Costco, Nordstrom, and Lowe’s, refused to give in to the pressure, and kept their doors closed, and their employees at home with their families on Thanksgiving.

For that, and so much more, I am thankful.