What are the House Rules for the People of God?

Wednesday is for Discipleship

New Cover and Update for Larry's Book
New Cover and Update for Larry’s Book

People are always asking me what is a good book or perspective on discipleship, especially for men.

There are a lot of good ones out there, but one that I have found particularly refreshing is my friend Larry Osborne’s Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us.

Larry has a wonderful sister but this story and the lesson Larry pulls from it don’t concern her except that to be a part of the family, she too had the same rules.

Larry Osborne writes:

My brother Bob [two years younger] and I couldn’t have been more different. As we were growing up, I’m not sure we understood or appreciated each other all that much.

I was a jock and wannabe hippie. Bob was musically gifted and a wannabe cop.

… In the middle of all this was my dad. Strangely, he not only loved us both, he liked us just the way we were.

… Bob and I were so different that as soon as my folks could afford it, they added on an extra bedroom so we wouldn’t have to share. I think they feared a homicide under their roof otherwise.

But no matter how different we were as siblings, we shared one thing in common: a set of house rules that Dad laid down for all of us.

The rules were simple and clear. Stay out of trouble. Do your homework—at least most of it. Be home before curfew, go to church, and make sure Mom or Dad knows where you are and who you’re with. Obviously, there were a few more rules, but the key point is that when it came to house rules, they were the same for everybody.

And that’s just the way it is with our heavenly Father. The house rules are the clear commands of Scripture. It doesn’t matter if I’m the forgiving type or not; the house rule is “Forgive.” It doesn’t matter if everyone else in my industry fudges the truth; honesty is the house rule. And even if my peers think I’m crazy, repressed, or whatever, if I’m not married sex is not an option. It’s a house rule.

God’s house rules aren’t hard to figure out.

—Larry Osborne, Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God,
(Multnomah, 2007), 29-31.

If you want to know the “house rules” and not create dysfunction in the family, you have to be a man or woman of the word of God. And if you want to shepherd your people well, you have to lead them into the word of the living God.


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