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Dr. Paul J. Dean Christian Blog and Commentary

Paul Dean

Dr. Paul J. Dean's Weblog

So I heard two guys talking in the locker room when I went to the gym the other day.

“What you doing this weekend?”

“Going to my brother’s wedding.”

“Is it his first one?”

“No, his second. I missed the first one; I guess that’s why it didn’t stick.”

“Well, the second one is always better.”


The thing that struck me was the question, “Is it his first one.” It’s never occurred to me to ask that question – never. Now, I’m mindful of those who’ve divorced, some for biblical reasons and some for selfish. And there’s forgiveness for the selfish. But I’m talking about how I think. And this isn’t a pat me on the back piece. I’m just highlighting the contrast between worldviews: God’s and all others.

There are reasons for this guy’s question; one is experience. He’s been there and done that. His second marriage is better, until he gets tired of her too. But behind that experience is the mindset of our culture toward marriage – it’s not that important; it’s anyone to anyone; it’s something to be delayed because life is over once it happens; it’s not about building a life together because you’re going to be married more than once. Not happy with your used car? Just trade up.

This morning I saw a re-tweet of a post by a wildly famous advice guru. The topic was the IRS, which is why I read it. But in the midst of chronicling his tax troubles, he casually mentioned his intention toward adultery prior to his divorce. He wondered if such thoughts made him a bad guy. Bizarrely, his later advice for karma points included being good to your wife, uh, your second wife at least. Wondering how many times you’ve been married and nonchalantly disclosing adulterous intentions are standard fare now. No eyebrows raised in this culture.

During the football game this weekend, a commercial came on for a television series that featured serial adultery. The title revealed that much. It’s sad when you have to change the channel on commercials. Again, so goes the culture.

But other things occurred to me. The vast majority of those in the entertainment industry are unbelievers and have no biblical grounding whatsoever, and as a result, they can’t help but propagate their worldview on ethics, morals, relationships, and everything else under the sun. Millions will watch this show with great delight including countless Christians. Now, it’s a fact that one’s thinking is altered proportionate to what one allows in. This is why the Scripture places a premium on renewing the mind. If it’s not being renewed daily, then it’s necessarily being conformed to this world. And then I realized why too many Christians sound just like two guys in a locker room.

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Well, being a good parent ain’t what the culture says – we’re never going to spank our kids; we’ll let them explore their own sexuality and gender identity – #authenticity; in fact, we won’t ever impose our values on them – better to let someone else do that, right?

Of course, you’re not like that. You spank you’re kids whenever they get on your nerves. And no, you would never let them explore their own sexuality, as far as you know. You send them to a good school, at least you’ve heard it’s good.

You’re good parents – not like those liberal parents.

So why is it you can’t wait for school to start to get your kid out of your hair? Why do you resent your kids keeping you from doing what you want? Why don’t you get along with your teenager anymore? Why did you have to rush up to school to be with your daughter after her abortion?

Seventy to ninety percent of church kids walk away from Christ and the values of their parents when they hit college. At least somebody reading this just felt that gut punch.

So what’s the counter punch? What do good parents do?    

They Spend Time with their Kids

You’re not a good parent if you don’t. You might think you are; but you’re not. How will you impact them more than the fools they hang out with (Prov 22:15; Ps. 14:1)? How will you really know them? You don’t want to live with the regret of neglecting your children or embitter them because you were never there. Why did you have kids if you don’t want to be around them?

They Train their Kids Biblically Every Day

If you don’t train your children, someone else will. Teachers, coaches, and friends shape their minds and hearts. Even more so does television and social media. Or, it could be porn or that pervert down the street. Here’s ten reasons to teach your children biblical truth – every day.

They Discipline their Kids Biblically

One Christian woman told me when her child pitched a fit in the store, she would announce to anyone within earshot that her child wanted to be the center of attention. Her thought was that embarrassing her would do the trick. It didn’t. Another woman said she threatened to leave her children in the store when they pitched their fits. Not sure where to find embarrassment and threats in the bible when it comes to discipline, but that’s beside the point for most parents. But if you’re interested in biblical discipline, see my article here.

They Take Responsibility for their Kids’ Education

Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s let someone else instill their values into our kids for seven hours a day – every single day – of their lives. Everything your kids hear comes from one worldview or another: one that says God is or one that says He’s not. Evolution is not the only problem in government schools. Think homosexual agenda; re-writing history; victimization and feelings oriented culture; relativistic and politically correct values; socialistic equality of outcomes; an entitlement mentality and the welfare state: just to name of few of the destructive ideas with which your children are being indoctrinated day after day after day after day after day. It is a stated goal of government education to alienate children from their parents. The state claims ownership of your children. They simply use you to board them in the evenings. Oh, here’s a little more, if you’re interested as to why I don’t care if my daughter gets good grades or not.

They Show Their Kids How to do Life

When my older daughter’s car overheated and she didn’t know what to do, I realized I had failed in yet another area. So I did something about it. I wish I were more like my dad. He showed me how to do things, even if I wasn’t as interested as he. More than how to fix my car, plant a garden, or build a fence, he took me with him everywhere he went. I learned how to talk with people; how to negotiate business deals; how to treat others well; how to be a man; and how to sacrifice for my family. He showed me how to honor God. There’s more, but you get the idea.

They Keep the Lines of Communication Open

That’s hard to do if you ignore or belittle your children; if you routinely fly off the handle; if you discipline out of anger; if you lecture instead of listen. Perhaps you’re like one discouraged mom who said to me, “I’ve tried to talk with my daughter but she just shuts me down.” If you have that kind of trouble with your teen, you might want to read this. You might also want to know that your communication break-down starts when your kids are young.

They Take Responsibility for their Kids’ Relationships

Here’s another idea. After your kids have been indoctrinated at school all day, the rest of the day they can get more values training from their friends, television, social media, and unlimited internet access. Oh, and it’s cute that your fourteen-year-old is dating. It’s cute because God has created teenage boys and girls to be attracted to one another and has given them raging hormones. Teenagers are also curious; they’re often rebellious; if not overtly rebellious they think their parents are stupid, and they hide things from them; they don’t have the training or the experience to make wise decisions in the face of overwhelming desire; girls give in to pressure from boys; and boys want to brag to other boys afterward. Most parents think there’s nothing they can do; they just hope it all works out. You need to start when they’re young and teach them about relationships, pitfalls, and God’s way. And, if your kid is fourteen and you’ve just realized you’re in trouble, then share your heart. Share your ignorance, your sin, and your new-found commitment to honor God. Ask your child to struggle forward in a new way. And pray. But please, whatever you do, don’t throw your virgin to the lions.  

They Prepare their Kids for Marriage

Are you preparing your kids to go to college? Probably. They’re taking advanced placement courses or seeking scholarships or taking the PSAT or something. Here’s another question or two. Are you preparing your children for marriage? Or, like most parents, are you going to send them off to college and just hope they don’t come home with a loser? If that’s your plan, they’ll come home with a loser. You have to model what a good marriage is. They need to get their ideas of what a good wife or a good husband is from you. You need to teach them what to look for in a mate and what the purpose of marriage is. Your son can’t just pick a girl because she’s good looking. He has to see that marriage is about two people advancing the kingdom together. It’s about sanctification and serving one another. It’s about putting the gospel on display. It’s about sacrifice and commitment. And, if you do it God’s way for God’s glory, then yes, there’s great joy. And just in case you missed it in the previous point, here’s a dating tip for your kids.

They Help their Kids Discover their Unique Gift Mix

Don’t impose your dreams on your kids. My dad was in construction. He wanted me to do that but made it clear I needed to do what God called me to do. I chose real estate and loved it. My dad did too. Then God made me a preacher. I love that too. So did my dad. It would be great if my son were a preacher. But he’s an artist. I love that.

They Pray for their Kids Daily

Because God is the only one who has any real power to turn their hearts toward Him. On second thought, good parents pray for their kids hourly, and sometimes more.

They Love their Kids Unconditionally

That doesn’t mean you let them get away with stuff they shouldn’t. It means you love them even when they break your heart. And you let them know you love them that way. And here are seven things you should do if they actually do break your heart.

They Trust God and His Word for Their Kids

Even when good parents do good things, they can still have children that walk away. Whether that’s your situation or not, being a good parent means trusting the Lord no matter what. He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly (Ps. 84:11). He causes all things to work together for your good (Rom. 8:28). He loves you more than you can know. He demonstrated His love for you by dying in your place, while you were still shaking your fist in His face (Rom. 5:8). You can trust His word for all the parenting principles you need: “There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord (Prov. 21:30).” And, you can trust His perfect plan for you – and for your children.

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We’re losing our children. Seventy-five to ninety percent of young people raised in Christian homes walk away from the Christian faith when they hit college. And, it’s not more programs or youth functions at church that will stop it. In fact, those things are part of the problem. According to the Scriptures, the solution lies with you. With respect to this issue, the missing dynamic in contemporary Christianity is parents discipling their own children. God commands Christian parents to train their children in the way they should go and such a dynamic involves more than taking them to church. It involves teaching them – every day. There is no more important thing you as a parent can do for your children than to teach them biblical truth. Why?

1. Because they won’t learn it on their own.

Apart from the new birth, no matter how good they look, your children don’t really love or desire God. And while some have been converted by simply picking up a Bible and reading it, God’s primary means of bringing people to Himself is through discipleship: people explaining the Scriptures. We’re commanded to make disciples (Matt. 28:18f). We’re also given examples like Philip inquiring of the Ethiopian eunuch, who was reading from Isaiah, as to whether he understood what he was reading (Acts 8:31f). The eunuch responded by asking how could anyone understand without someone explaining it. Your children will never learn the Scriptures unless you teach them.

2. Because their friends and teachers are leading them astray.

Paul warns us against being deceived and says that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). The Bible also says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child (Prov. 22:15). When a bunch of fools (children) get together, foolishness abounds. Most Christian parents have no idea what their children talk about with their friends or how much they’re influenced by them and the larger culture. I’ve driven buses for Christian and public school athletic teams. The conversations on those buses are no different and they certainly don’t glorify God. But more than that, every statement someone makes is rooted in a worldview. Seven hours a day for nine months of the year, your children are being taught that God does not exist. And it’s not just in science class. When the math, English, or history teacher presents the material apart from the reality of God or without looking at it through the lens of Scripture, your children are being taught that God is not real. They are also being trained to think in unbiblical terms. They see the world through a secular lens and not a biblical one. As such, your children are being led astray.   

3. Because their electronic devices are leading them astray.

From television shows, to music, to youtube videos, to facebook, and more, your children are being influenced away from Christ. Values and attitudes are shaped by entertainers, musicians, fashion models, advertisers, etc. If your child’s mind is being filled with nothing but the world’s message, he can’t help but think like the world. This is why the Scriptures tell us constantly that we must renew our minds (Rom. 12:1-2). Unless we fill our minds with truth, we will find it impossible to think in a way that glorifies God. Beyond that, salvation is not a matter of repeating some words in a prayer. It’s a matter of one’s mind and heart being changed by the grace and power of the Spirit. Ask yourself how much time your child spends in school, with friends, and with media of some kind vs. how much time she spends in the word. You might be shocked.

4. Because they are not learning truth at church.

You might be in a wonderful church with gifted teachers. But one hour or even two on a Sunday is not discipleship. It’s not nearly enough time to combat the ungodly influences on your children throughout the week. And the truth is that most children’s Sunday school lessons involve little more than moralizing. Most children in Sunday school, youth group, or children’s discipleship, are not being taught what God’s word actually says.

5. Because you don’t really know what they believe if you don’t talk to them.

You can assume your children are saved and even knowledgeable in the Scriptures. You can assume they think like you and have the same attitudes as you about everything. But unless you talk to them, probe their understanding and attitudes, explain the Word, and apply it to their hearts, you don’t know them. If you don’t spend time regularly talking with your children about what’s going on with them and applying the Scriptures to their lives in that regard, you will be very surprised one day when you find out they aren’t who you thought they were. If you care about your children, you’ll care about what they think.

6. Because you really hate your children if you don’t.

Hate is a strong word but the Bible says “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Prov. 13:24). Biblical discipline is not only corrective but formative. Note that discipline and discipleship share the same root word. Discipleship is formative discipline and involves teaching the things of God while discipline is corrective discipleship and involves rebuke, correction, and instruction. Moreover, in biblical terms, love is action. To love your children is to teach them the Scriptures. If you don’t teach them, you’re not loving them.

7. Because God commands you to.

Paul tells us to bring our children up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Again, we are to make disciples of our children. The way we do that is found in Deut. 6:6-9: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” If you’re not saturating your children with God’s word, you are not only being disobedient, but you’re failing your children.

8. Because Satan is real and is trying to destroy them.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Peter gives us a critical command for our good. A lion roars when he’s ready to pounce on his prey. If we don’t think of our children as prey, then surely they will be devoured. Satan may get at them through sex, drugs, or violence. He may get at them through the influence of rebellious friends or activist teachers. He may get at them through the ideas that permeate our culture. Your only means of protection is Christ and His word.

9. Because they are sinful by nature and have no ability to overcome their own flesh.

The truth is that if you simply leave your children to themselves, they will always choose the wrong path. It may be that God in His grace and providence uses someone else to point them to Christ. But you have no guarantee of that, and in reality, it’s almost certain He won’t. If seventy-five to ninety percent of young people raised in Christian homes walk away from the faith when they hit college, what will make your child different? Those children are walking away because they’re not being taught biblical truth by their parents.

10. Because one day it will be too late.

No one knows who and when God might save. But in practical terms, there will come a day when your child has chosen his beliefs and path in life. For most young people it happens in college or shortly thereafter. If you let your child get to that stage without teaching her biblical truth, it will most certainly be too late.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. God has given us His word and told us what to do with it. And remember, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17).

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