Archive for category Personal
When I was learning the guitar, my dad had a whole bunch of blues tablature books. There were some modern players like Jeff Beck and Jerry Garcia, but most of his books were about acoustic, finger style blues.
I cut my teeth on stuff like “Black Snake Moan” by Lemon Jefferson and old, old Mississippi blues. My dad used to tell me that the blues was the backbone of all American music, whether it was rock or country or even jazz. For awhile there, I forgot about the blues but lately I have been finding a lot of old stuff, like this video of Lightnin’ Hopkins above.
What drew me to the blues was nothing so noble as desiring to learn the true nature of American music. I read a line in one of his books that went something like this: there are no wrong notes in the blues, just wrong times. I liked any form of music that involved having no wrong notes!
The blues essentially has only two structures. There’s a 12-bar version and a 16-bar version. The 12-bar blues are by far the most common form, and it works like this. In the blues, the most common key is E, so let’s do a twelve bar blues in E.
The musical alphabet consists of seven tones, each with a letter from the alphabet: A B C D E F G. There are also a number of semi-tones. If you’re getting the semitones by raising the pitch of tones, they are called sharps (#) and if you’re getting them by lowering the tones, they are called flats. The semitones are: G#/Ab, A#/Bb, C#/Db, D#/Eb, F#/Gb, G#/Ab. That’s it. You have twelve tones and semitones, and they are the basis of all music.
Almost all blues are in what is called 4/4 timing. That means a bar is equal to four beats. If you stomp your foot four times, that’s four beats.
To play a 12-bar blues in E, you start with an E chord (which is the tones E G# B) and play it for 16 beats or four bars. Then, you switch to an A chord (A C# and E) for eight beats. Go back to E for eight beats, then to B (B D# F#) for four beats, to A for four beats, back to E for four and then to B for four. That’s your 12 bars, or 48 beats.
After that, you just find notes that sound good over the 12-bar rhythm. That’s pretty much all there is to the blues. It is an ultra-simple style of music, and yet I have been playing it for two decades now, and I never get tired. There’s always something new to try, some combination of tones that makes a completely different tone.
You can play 12-bar blues progressions for hours, changing rhythms and leads, putting crazy lyrics to the rhythm and watching where it goes. There’s just no end.
Don’t believe me? All I can say is that 12-bar blues is the basis of all good rock music, from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Roy Orbison. It is the foundation of punk, country, folk and even something as unexpected as bluegrass. It is even the foundation of most gospel music. That’s how influential this one style is.
This Sunday, Nichole will be “debuting” a song she wrote called “Why So Downcast?” based on a psalm and it is built on a simple 12-bar blues. I am challenged and excited by the chance to play with her because I think true blues reflects the penitence and longing of so many of the psalms from Scripture. I think it is worshipful, even though it isn’t your typical church worship song.
See you Sunday at The Road!
One of the key reasons I don’t do conferences is that inevitably someone wants you to do some kind of “learning exercise.” I am a high-brain, verbal learner which means that I learn best by taking in information and teaching others, and most “learning exercises” do nothing for me. At the Biblical Imagination Conference we attended this weekend, we were asked twice to put our feelings on sticky notes and post them on a board. The first time, I actually wrote, “I don’t know what to write because the Gospel isn’t about me.”
Seriously, I wasn’t there to learn about myself. I was there to absorb the Gospel of Mark, to look at it in a different way; and that’s exactly what the teacher did. I felt engaged in Mark and felt that he really took the book to a fascinating place that will have me thinking, praying and changing for weeks. But it wasn’t about me. It was about Jesus. I wanted to learn about Him – from Him; and that was enough for me.
Anyway, the final “learning exercise” was to place ourselves in the place of Bartimaeus on the road out of Jericho. (Bartimaeus’ story is in Mark 10:46-52.) I think the purpose of the exercise was for us to think creatively about how the Gospel pertains to us. In reality, we are all blind like Bartimaeus; and the only thing we can ever ask Jesus for is mercy, which is what he does.
I get the idea. I really do. And when people started standing up and reading their “paradigms” as they were called, there was definitely a vibe of “Jesus saved me from ______.” I did not write about that at all. I think being “saved” is easy; but being transformed and remade is not.
When Jesus healed Bartimaeus, he literally remade him. Jesus did not simply make the man’s eyes work. He reactivated, repathed and reconnected millions of neural connections in his brain. Jesus implanted in Bartimaeus’ mind, body and soul the ability to not only receive light through his eyes but also how to interpret that light in meaningful ways. Jesus imputed into Bartimaeus a wholeness that otherwise would have been absent.
But there’s the thing. Bartimaeus was not the blind guy on the road. That was not the true Bartimaeus. When Jesus comes along and Bartimaeus cries out for mercy, Jesus recreated Bartimaeus as he was intended to be. For the first time, Bartimaeus was wholly Bartimaeus.
Too many of the “paradigms” I heard were essentially, “I AM the blind beggar, but Jesus made me a better version of that blind beggar.” This is the way Christians often share their testimony, and it is not an indictment of anyone who was there. They dwell on the person they once were – that broken, sinful person, and they imagine that Jesus somehow just improved upon that person.
Jesus does not improve or renovate. Jesus recreates. Bartimaeus was no longer the blind beggar. He was the seeing disciple. And when we cry out to Jesus for mercy and he recreates us, he does a NEW thing. He makes us as we are meant to be, the new creation. He is the NEW ADAM, the one who gives life.
We need to shift our thinking and stop defining ourselves as what we were before Jesus showed up with a little extra that Jesus is doing. We need to realize the new creation he has done and embrace the present reality of his workmanship in us. We must no longer be defined as ME+something Jesus did, but rather as Jesus+A NEW CREATION.
It is hard to communicate the emphasis, but consider it as if we mumble that we were blind and then SHOUT that we can see. The NEW CREATION is the reality, and the old broken person was just the shadow. The people who would not follow Jesus were those who embraced the lie of their current reality, who could not imagine that Jesus could make them truly new (the rich young ruler, the Pharisees, etc.). Don’t believe Satan’s lie that you ARE the sinner, the broken, the defeated. That is not who you ARE. You ARE who Jesus, in his mercy, makes you.
Those things have passed away, and BEHOLD he makes all things new.
Does that make sense?
This morning, our beloved congregation will worship without us. Nichole and I are in Syracuse, New York for a conference and concert.
I’ll be completely honest. I don’t like being away. It is more nerve-wracking than being there. When you invest so much of yourself into something you believe is God’s thing, you become very attached to it. Our congregation is our lives – our family and our friends. We have relationships in our congregation that, if you think about it, we invest more into than we do our own biological relationships.
I had trouble sleeping last night, and as I was tossing and turning on the block of cement our hotel has deemed a “bed”, the faces of so many of our co-laborers passed through my mind with simple prayers. There are, of course, Steve and Sheryl who are caring for our daughter Ariel. But there’s also Donald who is teaching this morning; and Greg, Matt, Ron and Tom who are leading the music part of the worship. There’s new friends we’ve just met and people we’ve worked with for years. There’s Leo, our sound guy, and his wife Deb who have become in many ways some of our best friends.
There are struggling single dads and celebrating grandparents. There are doctors, lawyers, landscapers and contractors. There are people with dark skin, people with pale skin, people with hair and people with shiny starbursts coming from their heads when they pass under the lights. We’ve got musicians and people who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Deaf people, loud people, people who don’t say much and people who say everything that comes to mind.
But they’re all us. They’re all the church, our congregation of believers who gather and worship together. They are unique and special, but part of so much more that Jesus Christ is doing on earth. Being away from them is harder than being with them (and sometimes being with them can be pretty hard).
I love our congregation. I love what Jesus is doing in his body, and being away and among other believers is great but it isn’t the same.
Can’t wait to be back with all the jumbled artistry of Bedford Road – or as one of our folks calls it, “The Road.”
I wouldn’t trade being the father of a little girl for anything in the world. My sister has five sons (ages 11-1), and I have a couple of friends with lots of boys. I wouldn’t mind having a boy as well, but Ariel is a tremendous joy.
Her friend Paige comes over a couple times a week so they can go to karate together, and today when Paige’s dad dropped her off, Ariel was out in the field checking out a dragonfly. The two of them laid on the grass for a good ten minutes, talking softly while they watched the dragonfly. Eventually, it took to the air and alighted on Paige’s hand. This, of course involved lots of girlie squeals of excitement. Then it flew off.
As I watched the girls, I was struck by how seldom we adults revel in the simplicity of the moment. Ariel is far from what I would consider sedate. She talks almost ceaselessly and like all children of her generation, she requires almost constant input of information or activity. But when something grabs her heart and imagination, she is attentive and alert. She and Paige were completely focused on the dragonfly. It was a new, wonderful experience.
What happens to human beings that we lose that childlike attention, that absolute faith in the moment? Why is it necessary that we be born again to see the Kingdom of God (a phrase Jesus uses in John 3, and incidentally is used incorrectly by almost everyone else)? Why must we come to Jesus as children rather than as intelligent, accomplished adults?
I think Jesus wanted us to have an attitude of marvel and expectation in every moment with him. He wanted us to let go of the way we think the world works so he can unpack the marvel of the moment – what grace looks like just now; how divinity is revealed in this glimmering second. He wants us to live with that kind of eager absorption that children have in the moment that something new is revealed.
What is worship if it isn’t constant celebration of the moment of Jesus’ revelation? That rebirth in the presence of the Kingdom? What is confession if it is not the sudden recognition of my own bland, pale righteousness in the moment that I see Christ’s glory?
In the moments when I am walking with Christ and he is revealing things, I’d rather be like a little girl watching a dragonfly than like a grownup pastor who has it all figured out.
Michael Hyatt recently posted a summary of what he believes is the four keys to effective communication:
- Effective communicators know how to prepare a message with a singular and crystal clear focus.
- If you know where you are going, you can take anyone with you.
- If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
- Effective communicators know how to read an audience and are able to customize their presentation to make that audience want to listen.
- Until the audience is engaged, communication has not taken place.
- An engaging presentation puts people on the edge of their seats.
- Effective communicators are passionate about their subject.
- They pour every part of their being into the presentation.
- If the subject is not worthy of your passion, it should be distributed in a memo.
- Effective communicators leave the audience no doubt about how to benefit from the objective of the talk.
- They call people to action.
- They make it easy to respond.
I never took a course with Michael, but I have to say that I have long tried to practice these four things. Generally speaking, when I speak I have one single point to get to; I always adapt to the audience; you can always tell if I am passionate about the subject; and no one is ever left with ambiguity about what we are discussing, even when I leave things open-ended.
That’s my own self-evaluation anyway. I am always trying to get better at communicating. What do you think?
I have taken to reading Bruce Gerencser’s blog. Bruce is a former pastor who left the pastorate in 2003, the church in 2008 and theism in 2011. He is an open and vocal antitheist who has no problem attacking Christianity, the church and individual believers.
You might ask why I would read such a thing? Because I think a lot of Bruce’s criticisms are valid. Most of what I have read involves frustrations that I identify with. As I’ve told people before, I am an atheist who just can’t get past Jesus. If I had to judge the Savior by his disciples and the organizations they have built, I would be an antitheist as well.
You might ask if I have ever tried to persuade Bruce about the error of his ways? The answer is absolutely not. Any attempt to “persuade” Bruce would be entirely for my own benefit, to assuage some sense of outrage that he has turned on “my” faith. That is just balderdash and bravado.
Bruce has made a very personal and difficult decision, and I would much rather that he be openly antitheist than to try to pretend as if he still believes something that he does not. When I read some of the things that believers say in the comments on his page, I feel as if I need to apologize to him for their brashness and sometimes downright rudeness.
It is interesting to note that the apostle Paul’s greatest condemnation is not on those who leave the faith (though he mourns for them) but for those who claim to adhere to the faith and do not practice basic charity (1 Timothy 5:8). Often, when we take a person’s departure from the faith personally, we act in a manner that dishonors the very Christ we claim to be following.
So, I read Bruce’s blog. Sometimes the things he says upset me. Sometimes, I find myself asking, “Yeah, why do Christians do/believe that?” Sometimes, I just shake my head.
I like reading atheists and antitheists. I always have. In high school, I read Nietzsche. In college, it was Sartre, Darwin and Huxley. In adulthood, I read Dawkins and Ehrman. About the only one I have found unreadable is Christopher Hitchens. Gerencser and John Scalzi are recent online finds.
I’ll never stop reading atheists because I never want to be complacent. I never want to find myself comfortable in my faith, insulated from all that can go wrong in Christianity (and trust me, there’s a lot of valid issues that these people bring up).
If you don’t know me well, then you don’t know that I don’t watch other sports.
I watch football.
Since I was five years old, I have been a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan despite the fact that I have never been to Tampa and did not even step foot on Florida soil until my friend Ryan graduated from Wizzo school at Pensacola Naval Air Station.
I also cheer for the New England Patriots because they are the home team, but generally speaking, I am just a football fan – a professional football fan.
Once the Super Bowl came to a close, I had nothing to look forward to for the next six months until pre-season football.
So, here’s a scenario for you.
Say that you are a thirty-three year old female diagnosed with thyroid cancer. You have your thyroid surgically removed, but there is no way to remove all of the tissue so the recommended course of treatment is to receive radioiodine treatment.
You go to the hospital and while you’re enjoying the liberating embarrassment of a hospital johnie, you are met by four men carrying a lead-lined briefcase. They present you with a single capsule which contains an isotope of iodine known as iodine-131. What else is there to do? You take the pill.
The small quantity of iodine-131 you are ingesting has come a long way. It used to be a different element altogether. For thousands of years, it was tellurium-130, an element as rare on earth as platinum. It was happily bonded to some other earth mineral, most likely quartz, since the formation of the continents.
Then an engineer dug it up out of the earth, made it into a target and gave it to a physicist who bombarded it with neutrons. The tellurium atoms mutated and changed quickly, with many of them turning into unstable tellurium and xenon atoms that break down almost instantaneously. But some of them pick up an extra proton, which in turn attracts a loose electron from the mess, and the result is the relatively unstable iodine-131 molecule.
Every 8.02 days, half of the iodine-131 atoms in any mass will have a breakdown of sorts. One of its 78 neutrons will split into an electron and a proton shedding energy in the form of a gamma ray. The protons and electrons stay in the nuclei, turning the iodine into xenon. The radiation, which no one really understands fully, streams out of the atom. What happens next is still a bit of a mystery, but one thing is for sure. The thyroid cells holding the iodine during this process are destroyed.
This is a complex, nuclear event. Lots of stuff is happening. There should be a mushroom cloud or something – but there isn’t. This complex, nuclear event is the antithesis of an atomic bomb. You are stuck in isolation. Even your television is wrapped in plastic. Your nurses rush in and out of the room to prevent exposure.
Your neck swells as tissue is destroyed and cells disintegrate. The escaping gamma radiation is ionizing DNA molecules, knocking electrons out of orbit in atoms and causing the atoms of amino acids to lose their grip on each other.
What was once living (even if cancerous) tissue is now dead, inert chemicals. The body has a system for dealing with this, flushing the unusable xenon and iodine into the excretory system and recycling what it can.
But all of that takes time and occurs on a microscopic level. Meanwhile you feel like someone punched you in the neck.
You have to live in quarantine for at least three days, one of which you spend at the hospital. When the physicist – not a physician but a physicist – tells you that your radiation levels are below 5 millirem per hour.
You don’t know that a millirem is 1/1000th of a roentgen or that it is a measurement of gamma radiation. After all, gamma radiation is what turned Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk.
But the physicist knows that the people around you will be exposed to the gamma radiation being given off by the iodine-131 in your system. You have become a source of harmful radiation, so he wants to make sure that your husband and daughter will not be exposed to harmful amounts.
When you’re no longer harmful, they release you. You drive home and get to spend the next three days in isolation – unable to touch your loved ones.
That has been my wife’s week.
Let me explain something in case you didn’t know. Cancer sucks.
Even a very treatable form of cancer like the cancer my wife has or the form her sister fought last year is still awful.
Here is what cancer is.
It starts with a single cell is produced with an altered DNA sequence. The altered sequence can be from genetic mutation or radiation exposure or even (believe it or not) a fungus or virus. That cell ceases to produce healthy, productive cells and instead produces non-functioning ones.
You should know that everyone has cancer cells. Our bodies are marvelous at producing new cells, but with ten trillion cells in a human body, there are bound to be errors. For the most part, your body is very good at identifying and destroying these faulty cells.
But sometimes the body simply cannot keep up. In that case, the mutated cancer cells replicate unchecked. They grow faster than healthy cells and in time can cause healthy organs to fail.
What is truly astounding is that there is absolutely no reason your body cannot deal with these mutations. The cure for cancer should be very simple. Just tell the cells to stop producing bad copies and then tell the healthy cells to replace them.
Believe it or not, this is the entire impetus behind the human genome project. It is the driving force behind billions upon billions of dollars of drug research. To stop cancer, you don’t have to destroy it. You simply have to get the body to do what it is supposed to do and your body should heal itself.
But nobody can do it.
So for no reason, inexplicably, cancer strikes. It hits kids and seniors, men and women. It is indiscriminate because it is not an it. It is your own body turning against you.
The way I see it, cancer can be one of two things:
1. It is evidence of evolution. In other words, the existence of cancerous mutation is evidence of the way in which life changed and altered over the epochs. My problem with this is that cancer is never good for the organism. It is always harmful.
2. It is evidence of sin in the world. When we look at cancer, we see our need for restoration and redemption. We realize the frailty of life and the necessity of a Savior.
I choose the second, although not everyone will agree.
Recently, I upgraded my phone. It was time. My LG enV Touch had run its course, and beside the battery giving me about 2 hours of use, it was dropping calls and not sending text messages. If you’re in the business of people, not connecting with them is a big no-no.
A lot of readers might think that buying an iPhone would be a no-brainer for me, but as suprising as it might seem I went for an Android phone. I made the foray into the world of Google devices for a couple of reasons:
1. At the church, we use Google Apps for everything: our email, our calendars, and many of our records.
2. I already have an iPad.
3. The iPhone is EXPENSIVE.
4. I like physical keyboards on my phones.
So, I got an LG Enlighten, which is an entry level phone running Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”. The phone itself has some quirks. It is not the fastest device you will ever use, but it is not my primary device. My iPad is. (I am writing this post on it.)
I just needed a phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard and the option to use it as a WI-FI hotspot. Since the Enlighten was also FREE with my upgrade, this was a no-brainer. The phone met all my criteria, so it made sense.
Google Apps Integration
Here is what I love so far about the Android phone – everything is integrated. I entered my Google email and password, and presto all my contacts, calendars, YouTube and Documents were available to me. A quick download of the Google+ app and all my pictures automatically go to Picasaweb.
Google does the cloud right. Say what you will, they are way ahead of Apple on the integration of services. (iCloud is an embarrassment thus far.) Need to add a contact? I just enter their info on the phone, and POOF! It is available everywhere – even my Address Books on my Mac at the office and my iPad. That does not happen with iOS without a lot of work.
Add a calendar event? Oh look, it is on my Google Calendar! My wife can see it. My iPad can see it.
The Google Docs integration is full, but editing a document on a 3″ screen is not my idea of productivity. It is convenient to be able to see the documents, but I’d do little work on the phone – even if it was an iPhone.
Social Media Integration
Once I downloaded the Facebook and Twitter apps, they integrated into the OS. It is the kind of “deep integration” that Apple claims to have with Twitter, but for everything. The phone merges all my Address books, so I not only see a person’s contact information but also have a link to their Facebook, Twitter and any other social apps I download.
What’s more, the OS can integrate with Evernote, my favorite app in the world. Just press the menu button and tell the phone to send it to Evernote. POOF! It is in Evernote.
If we’re honest, Evernote’s integration with iOS has lagged a bit. It took forever for them to get full rich text formatting, and just today I tried to use a shopping list on Evernote on a grocery trip. Nichole and I separated in the store, and the idea was to just keep updating the note as we picked up items. What happened was that everytime she edited the note on her iPhone, it would append an entire copy. By the time we were done, there were sixteen versions of the same list in the same note.
1. Android really does not have a solid take on audio integration. The built in music player is bare-bones, and it does not allow convenient use of audiobooks – which are my primary listening. With iOS, I can build .m4b files that include bookmarks and section breaks. Try as I might, Android just does not play well with these files.
2. iOS’s approach to multi-tasking is both efficient and convenient. Android’s is bulky and does not lend itself to any sort of confidence that it is working. Battery life on my phone is about the same as my wife’s iPhone 4S, but I have to constantly be on the watch for apps running in the background. When apps are eating away at my resources (which are limited in this phone), I have to manually kill them or use an app killing software. Even then, I feel like the apps linger in the RAM.
3. The microSD dance gets annoying. My phone is an entry level device, so there is only 120MB of internal storage. That’s not a ton. I have a microSD card, and can move many apps to the card, but they have to leaves some of the app on the internal memory. So, even if I had a 32GB microSD card, I would still be limited to about 50-60 apps at an average of 1.5MB of storage on the internal memory.
But here’s the thing…
I Want My Phone to be a Phone
I have my iPad for mobile computing and note taking. I don’t want to use my phone for things I can do on the iPad. (And I certainly don’t want to pay $300 for a phone that does the exact same thing as my iPad.)
I want my phone to integrate that snapshot I took or to check my email really quickly. I want to be able to send everything everywhere – all at once. My phone isn’t for getting my news or for creating content.
My phone is for making calls, sending texts and quick updates. And when necessary, it is for letting my iPad get online. It does what I want, and it keeps contacts and such up to date.
I don’t expect Android to be as slick as iOS, anymore than I expect Windows to be Mac OS. Windows does different things, and does them very well. Each OS does something well, and we shouldn’t demand they do other things. I wouldn’t want Android on a tablet, and I am happy without using iOS on my phone.
In the New Testament, when someone became a follower of Christ, they were baptized. This baptism was coupled with their heart attitude – repentance.
The word repent means “to turn”. It is a conscious, volitional choice to turn toward Christ; and by definition, away from our own self-centered, sinful nature.
When someone repented, they accepted baptism. Baptism was the public profession of personal repentance; and as such, it was also a voluntary act.
The Apostle Paul best explains the purpose of Baptism in Romans 6:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:3-11 ESV)
Sometimes the step of baptism was taken by an entire household at once (Acts 16:32-33), but generally the Scriptures show us individuals making the choice on their own. Even in these household situations, it was still a decision.
This brings us to the topic of christenings and baby dedications.
The term christen is a form of the Old English word for Christian. In practice, christening is the “making Christian” of someone. Our modern usage of the word is to indicate the baptism of an infant or child.
Our congregation ministers in an area where the majority of folks come from a Catholic or mainline Protestant background. In these traditions, christening is a ubiquitous practice. Even those who do not worship regularly or consider themselves Christians will bring their infants to be christened.
In these traditions, the theological argument is that christening serves the same purpose as circumcision did in ancient Israel. The purpose of christening is to bring the child into the Christian community. The theological justifications vary, but in the Roman Catholic tradition, this infant baptism is said to wash away original sin, while confession and penance are required to cleanse our volitional sins.
I have written on this parallel elsewhere so I will not belabor the point, but suffice to say that the Scriptural evidence for such a parallel is completely circumstantial.
We, and most baptists, do not practice child baptism. We do not believe that an infant can repent of his sin or voluntary submit to baptism, and as such, christening is an exercise in futility. While not necessarily harmful, it imputes nothing good to the child’s journey with Christ; and there is the potential for great confusion as to the nature of their faith.
Instead, we practice a voluntary child dedication. During a worship gathering, parents present their children for the elders to pray over them. We, the congregation, covenant with the parents to partner with them in the rearing of their children.
The covenant is not with the child but rather for the child. It is a covenant the child’s parents and their friends make together with God to cover the child’s life with prayer and Scriptural encouragement.
My personal experience has been that congregations take their ministry to children much more seriously when we covenant together. We open the door for the honoring of practices such as spurring each other onto good works (Hebrew 10:19-25) and the younger people being taught by the older (Titus 2). It is voluntary covenant to teach and encourage, which results in a deeper commitment of the parents and their fellow believers.