Nathan Tiemeyer

Author Archives: Nathan Tiemeyer

Learning to Love Better

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means that love is in the air.

Or is it?

I ask the question because I’m convinced that love is one of the more widely defined–and misunderstood–concepts in our culture. And I’m far from the first person to point out that this time of year doesn’t always lend itself to the clearest thinking on the subject.

So when you get right down to it, what does it mean to love someone in God’s eyes?

Do We Still Need the Good News?

Every once in a while a cultural pundit will suggest that our culture is progressing to a point where religion will be unnecessary and/or irrelevant. The thinking behind such an idea seems to be that mankind will gradually be able to address its major problems through its own, seemingly ever-expanding resources. In other words, one

Preparing Your Preschooler for Christmas

Want a few ideas to help prepare your preschool age child for Christmas? Sure you do, and I’ll give you a few thoughts as to why. Most of us realize that we live in a time and place in which it can be extremely difficult to keep the proper perspective on the significance of Christmas.

Crossing Explainer: What is Advent?

If you’ve spent much time around a church during the holiday season, you’re probably heard the term “Advent” several times. But beyond associating the word with the Christmas season, many of us might not have the clearest idea of its significance.

Our English word “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, which is a translation of the Greek term parousia, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” Western Christians have historically observed Advent during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

But what specifically are we observing? To sum it up briefly, Advent is a season of expectation. In it, we turn our attention to the coming of Christ. And to do so, we look both backward and forward.

Help! What Do I Do When I Don’t Understand the Bible?

thumb_41rJJE82O7L_1024Anybody who’s ever read the Bible for any length of time has experienced it. You’re reading along, understanding things well enough. But then, like Han Solo getting hit with a tractor beam aboard the Millennium Falcon, you come across a verse or passage that pulls you up short. “Wait, what did that say?” you ask yourself. Did someone interrupt your regularly scheduled English programming with an alien language? Or maybe it’s an image or metaphor that you simply don’t understand. Or it could be that you comprehend the words just fine, but you can hardly believe that they say what you think they say. In any case, confusion sets in, often soon followed by frustration. And you walk away, less confident in your ability to read the Bible, and less motivated to do so.

Of course all this is understandable. The Bible was written over a period of many centuries, by several different human authors, in three different ancient languages and in a host of different historical contexts. There’s bound to be a few things that trip us up. So what to do when you find yourself in this situation? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Crossing Explainer: Seven Important Things You Need to Know About the Bible

IMG_23141. The Bible was written by many different human authors.

Like classic Russian novels, the Bible is bigger than most books. But unlike Russian novels, it has more than one human author. In fact, a great many authors, including some of the more familiar names to the Christian faith, like Moses, David, Peter, John, and Paul, have written several of its 66 individual books. But this isn’t just a piece of Bible trivia. Those different authors wrote in different historical situations, using different vocabulary and writing styles—all of which helps to explain why one part of the Bible reads differently than the next.

2. The Bible has one ultimate Author.

We’re not given many details on how he did it, but we’re clearly assured that he did: behind the various human writers, each writing in their own voice, stands God himself as the ultimate author (see 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21). This means that the Bible exhibits his trustworthiness and carries his authority. It also leads to the next point.

Thinking (Christianly) About Politics

It’s that season again. I don’t mean winter. I mean the political season. Last night, Iowa kicked off the long primary/caucus gauntlet (grueling for both candidates and voters?), which will culminate several months from now in a national election. And if we aren’t already thinking along these lines, it’s a good reminder that we as Christians have a responsibility to think through how our faith should inform our understanding of and involvement with politics.

That’s not inventing a link that isn’t there, it’s just being biblical. Consider just one passage of many we could use to make the point:

Seven Quick Thoughts on Praying with Your Kids

Most of us probably think it’s a good idea, at least in theory, to pray with our kids at bedtime. But we may be unsure of what we should pray with them about. Or we may think we sound like one of those particularly annoying toys that repeats the same phrases over and over again. Not to mention all the times when we’re dog-tired or the kids are on the verge of meltdown because they’ve stayed up way too late for one reason or another. And in my house at least, there’s three of the little buggers, which in itself can make the hill look that much higher to climb. So yes, there are plenty of things that might discourage us from turning something good in theory into our actual practice.

With all that in mind, here are a few things to remember as we consider praying for our kids. I’ve thought of bedtime specifically as I’ve written these, but I think they’re relevant for most other times as well.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex

Talking to our kids about sex can be one of the more daunting and awkward things we do as parents. But if we don’t, who will?

As it turns out, lots of people. And that’s the problem.

Movies, music, and magazines, TV shows and their commercials, online images and everyday conversations with friends—they’re all regularly communicating ideas about sex to our kids. And those ideas are often a significant distortion of the good and powerful gift that God has given us in sex.

Consider a few illuminating stats:

7 Tips to Help Your Kids Engage with Media/Entertainment

Apart from throwing our kids into solitary confinement and shoving them meals through a slot in the door, every parent eventually has to make decisions about how to guide their consumption of TV shows, movies, music, YouTube videos, websites, and other media and entertainment options. Even failing to adopt a strategy is, by default, adopting a strategy. But if we’re wanting to take a wise, biblically-shaped approach, we need to do think through some principles that will help us guide our kids as they navigate the sea of popular culture.

We should acknowledge that there’s no flow chart or set of “if/then” statements that we could list that could cover every situation, but the following points should at least steer us in the right direction.