Category Archives: Family

If Satan Can’t Make You Bad, He’ll Make You Busy.

I’m frustrated.  I really am.

One of the hardest things I have found about ministering to families is the fact that they are so busy.  Between school, work, sports, music practice, vacations, and other activities, they are rarely to be found.  Never have we had so many opportunities to be involved in so much stuff.  I can’t say that all this activity is bad thing.  As a matter of fact, most people would consider this…normal.

Think about it, when was the last time asked, “So, are you staying busy?”  How are you to answer that?  You are always inclined to say yes.  Why?  Because it is expected.  People expect themselves and other people to be “busy”.  If you were to answer to the contrary, what kind of look would you get?  What kind of smart remark would you receive?  Would you be perceived as joking or being sarcastic?  We certainly need to work hard and make good use of our time, but are we are really called to be busy?  Is being busy a true sign of success, health, or normality?

My frustration lies where the hectic pace of life can negatively affect the spiritual growth of the family.  Hopefully this doesn’t sound like your family:  Me:”Hey, we have missed seeing you at church on Sundays.”  Parent:”Oh, yeah, well…as busy as we are, Sundays are the only time we can spend together as a family.”  Really?  I often heard this and scratched my head.  But, it makes sense to me, now.  Monday through Friday is filled with school, work, practices, homework, and other valuable activities.  Saturday is the day families spend playing all those sports they have practiced for all week, or spending all that money they have earned – which is rarely relaxing zipping through malls and grocery stores, driving in hectic amounts of traffic.  Saturdays are project days at our home, while others work on the car, or do a little extra work for the office.  Certainly nothing I have mentioned is a problem and is all useful.  Then Sunday rolls around and our busy families need a day to recover from the previous week of busy and prepare for the coming week of busy, and it is just to difficult to make it to church.

I know that it sounds like I am complaining, but I am really concerned.  Why?  Because I have yet to hear people with grown up children say, “Wow, I wish our family had not spent so much time at church.”  Or, “If only we had spent more Sundays at home, then our children would really love the Lord.”  Nope, haven’t heard it.  What I have heard is, “If only we had been more involved in church…” or “We made the mistake of not involving our kids in church, an now…”  Do I sound like I am pushing the issue of church involvement?  You better believe I am.  Is church involvement more important than a relationship with Christ?  Nope, but the admonishment to regularly meet in worship is still right here.

God’s word makes it very clear.  “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 HCSV)  This is not a statement made to all families in general.  It is directed at people who claim to love and fear God.  Do you see my frustration?  The families that I am struggling to see involved in church are Christian families, the ones that claim they want their children to love and fear God, too.  If you know me even just a little, you know that church involvement does not take the place of spiritual leadership at home.  As a matter of fact, just because your family attends church every time the doors are open does not guarantee that your family will successfully grow in their relationship with God.  It takes both the family and church working together for there to be growth.

I make this statement all the time to my children, “Don’t stop at the problem, tell me the solution.”  So, what is the solution?  I believe it begins with:

  1. Make Christ the priority in our families.  We spend the most time doing what we love the most.  If we love our kids the most, we spend all our time doing things centered around them.  If we love our job, we spend extra time doing things for our job.  Christ is to be our first love.  All other loves before Him is idolatry.
  2. Be less busy.  God has given us all the time we need to accomplish all we need to accomplish.  If we run out of time, it is our own fault for misusing it.  If busy is normal, than we need to be okay being different, or Craig Groeschel would call it Weird.
  3. Attend church regularly, more often than Christmas and Easter.  Most churches have several services throughout the week.  Try to join one consistently.  If not church service, at least a church small group who consistently studies God’s Word and offers opportunities to worship and  encourage one another.
  4. Be aware that time is short.  You only have a few years with your family together.  Time in general is waning.  Every moment counts.  How will you spend the little amount of time we have been given to grow you and your family closer to God?

Agree or disagree?  What some other things families can do to make Christ and regular church involvement priorities?  Blessings.

14 Days Out – Family Sacrifice

It is very difficult to believe that I am 14 days away from serving God in Africa.  So very humbling and exciting.  Yet, in the midst of my excitement, I must not neglect my family.

A handful of the supplies I will be taking.

Yesterday, I was able to spend time with them as we celebrated the First Day of School, purchased extra school supplies, and picked up many of the items I will need for my expedition.  Over dinner, the kids asked a few questions about Africa and we had an opportunity to discuss some of the details about the trip.  They are very excited about the project, and I can’t help but think they each have aspirations of serving God oversees themselves one day.

I am so blessed to have a wife and kids who are so supportive and committed to our ministry, wherever it takes us.  Full time ministry is a team effort, which many times means team sacrifice.  In the case of this mission project, Ronnie will have to parent solo, plus fill in for me in many of my ministry duties at the church.  The kids will have extra responsibilities, as well, which will encroach on the little bit of free time they have to begin with.  Our family will suffer emotional tolls as contact between myself and them will be very limited for a portion of the project.  Our home will a much different place for awhile

These make up the greatest of all the sacrifices, but personal finances are not immune, either.  God provides graciously for all our needs through one salary, and we are very blessed.  However, special events, camps, and mission trips often cause strains on our budget.  Thankfully, He has provided everything I needed for participation in this mission project through our church and many people like you who were sensitive to His calling.  Even a portion of my personal expenses have been covered, and for this I am so grateful.

So, as we get closer to the departure day, I ask that you join me in praying for:

  1. My family
    • That God will continue to bless my family, even more so while I am away.
    • That God will provide the extra finances we need to recover the rest of my personal expenses and help ease some of financial concerns.
    • That my wife will be strengthened through her reliance on God while I am away.
    • Our kids will have a constant peace as to my safety and the work God will do.
  2. Our Team
    • We will all be leaving someone at home.  Pray for and praise God for the sacrifices their families will make, as well.
  3. Our Suppporters
    • Our supporters have and will continue to make sacrifices to help our team spread the Gospel.  Our prayer is that their families be blessed, too.

 

The Big Picture – Orange Perspective

The Orange Conference 2012 has come and gone, and I have no disappointments or regrets. Never before have I met so many of the most innovative and sincere people, all in one place, all seeking the same goal. From the main stage to the breakouts. From the vendors to the volunteers. From the churches of 100 to churches of 10000, the conversation was the same. In the lunch line, on the lawn, around a great cup of coffee, projected on the screen…everywhere, the message was focused and clear.

We are all part of God’s Big Story and it takes Families and Churches working together to make positive change for future generations.

Lets break it down.

We were created to worship and have relation with God. Sin destroyed that relationship for all people. We tried to follow God’s laws, but failed every time. We were out of options and left with no hope of salvation. Then, Jesus bridged the gap. Grace fell like rain. Our relationship with God was restored. No one is excluded form this gift of life…they just have to ask. Children, youth, and their families, they all need to know about the love of a great big God, who is bigger than our circumstances. He is bigger than the struggles of a single parent home. Bigger than a hurting economy. Bigger than the bullies our kids face every day. Bigger than the special needs of our children. God Is Bigger!

Who is going to tell the next generation about God’s Big Story? Is it just up to the pastor to share it one day a week? Will it be the job of the missionary to take it to the whole world? Parents, is it your job to share with your children? Is it the churches job, or the families?

The answer is YES!

The answer is yes to all of the above and more. Not only does it take a pastor, but it takes a small group leader who pours their life into the kids or others in their group. Not only does it take a missionary, but it takes children, students, and families being invested into missions and being missionaries themselves. Not only does it take parents, but it takes Christ centered voices from others within the church body. The future generation will be better anchored to the truth and power of God’s Big Story when they hear it at church, when they hear it at home, when they serve within it, and when they see others do the same. I heard it best stated today, it is not about picking a great curriculum, it is about being a great curriculum. It is about rising above the circumstances and focusing on a big God that loves us more than we can even imagine.

What do you think it means to “be a great curriculum”?

An Eye from the Sky – Orange Perspective

There is something about being in an airplane that definitely changes your perspective.

I don’t fly much. If you were to see me right now, it would be pretty obvious. Just trying to complete this post is a challenge as I continually turn to glance over the great state of Texas and stare off into the fading horizon. I watch as whole communities slide past my window in mere seconds. What an amazing thing flight is! Now I know many others of you have had all you want of planes, tight schedules, and busy airports. You may feel differently, and I wouldn’t blame you if you did. Regardless, you have to admit that the world looks different from 25000 feet in the air.

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Is this how I have been viewing ministry to children and families?

Have I been so enamored by the developing concepts and big idea of a family based ministry philosophy, that I have minimized the individuals I am called to serve?

As I travel to go meet with 5000+ people whom all share the same passion and love that I do…
As I listen and absorb God’s message to me through some of the greatest leaders and innovators in the country…
As I think, process, pray, and discern God’s plan for my ministry and the ministry of our church…

May I discover how this ALL…

Will bring little Suzy to a greater understanding of God.
Will help Stacy raise her children without a father in the home.
Will encourage Cecil and Wanda as they care for their grandchildren while their daughter works two jobs just to get by.
Will equip Tom as he follows God’s calling on his life to teach in children’s church.

This is the challenge I pose for myself this week. Excited for great things!

Blogging Again…My First Orange Conference

Well, in preparation for my trip to Atalanta this week, I felt like it was time to dust off the blog.  I took a bit of a break while writing for StudentLifeforKids.  The series ended a while back and I have been pretty quiet…

UNTILL NOW!

God is doing so many great things in my life, family, and ministry that I just can’t keep quiet.  So, get ready to get a screen full as I begin sharing insights from my own walk with God in regards to life, kids, and family.  Not only will you hear from me, but I will bring you the best of the web as I share other blogs, stories, and news from around the world that impact you.

Which brings me to the week ahead.  My church has given me the privilege to attend my first Orange Conference, held in the amazing city of Atlanta.  This conference is comprised of the nation’s most notable leaders and innovators in the areas of children, youth, and family ministry.  I will have the opportunity to network with a host of men and women whom share my passion for the Lord and ministry to families.  The experience will be invaluable as I will not only grow personally and professionally, but will be able to communicate with you and others the same insights I will gain.

So, keep it tuned right here for updates and thoughts as the week goes one.  If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, I invite you to do that now.  I appreciate your prayers for me and my family while I am away. Thanks for the read and the opportunity to serve you through it.  God bless.

How “Big Brother” Plans to Become Mom and Dad

Me and politics mix about like oil and water.  Much of the time I show a real lack of enthusiasm or even apathy when it comes to legislation.  So, when something catches my attention within the political climate, it’s a big deal.

Such is the case with the Parental Rights Amendment.

This amendment is a preemptive change in the Constitution  to secure the fundamental rights of parents to know and to act in the best interest of their children.  It is necessary in regards to fairly recent changes in the United Nations and their establishment of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, or better known as the UNCRC or CRC.  This treaty, presented as a way to help protect children, actually makes them more vulnerable and ties the hands of parents by giving parental rights to the government.

Can this really happen in America?  Many disregard it, most are completely unaware, but US courts are increasingly ruling in favor of children over parents. To reiterate, I am not a political activists by any means, but we must understand the real danger involved with proven trends in government to break down the family unit.

Please take about 35 minutes to watch the video below, it is well worth it.

 

 

Parent Connect: National Center for Biblical Parenting

Today I spotlight the National Center for Biblical Parenting.  This organization was formed in 1992 and has been providing practical and biblical parenting help ever since.  Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller have written numerous books, lead a national seminar, and even provide personalized coaching for parents and their children.  The NCBP has even developed Biblical Parenting University, where you can take a series of courses which teach a “heart-based” form of parenting.  The NCBP partners with other family focused organizations such as AWANA, International Network of Children’s Ministry, and the Association of Marriage and Family Ministry.

Take time to visit their website and become familiar with the resources available there.  Also remember to pray for their ministry as we all work together to minister to children and families.

 

When you Thought I Wasn’t Looking – Jim Daly

This is a blog post by Jim Daly of Focus on the Family.  It is a little reminder of how much our children are influenced by our actions.

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

Posted by Jim_Daly on May 20, 2011 12:21:46 PM

Children are incredibly observant creatures, regularly keying in on that which you think sailed right over their heads. If you’re a mom or dad, you know they’re also astoundingly perceptive, which is why this essay written from a child’s perspective resonated with me. The author is unknown. But I think it will strike you in a similar manner.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake just for me, and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I believed there is a God I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me goodnight, and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked … and wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

Remember, mom and dad, our children are watching and listening – and they’re especially paying attention to you!

Not-so-Extreme Couponing: $1,160.56 Saved to Date

Recently, a new show has aired called “Extreme Couponing”.  In this show, you see families taking multiple cart loads of groceries and other items to the cash register, digging through files of coupons, and watching the total purchase amount go from the hundreds and thousands to mere dollars.  Though the show is somewhat entertaining, lets not forget the first part of the title…”Extreme”.  Especially when we see the massive stockpiles of items stored under children’s beds, in every closet, some even have separate insurance policies on.

Well, thankfully my wife is not extreme in her couponing.  Yet, we have been able to cut our monthly grocery bill in half because of a little internet tool called The Grocery Game.  For a small, monthly subscription fee, The Grocery Game keeps track of coupons being published in the larger newspapers, identifies what items our local chain grocery stores have sales on, and matches the coupons to the sales.  I admit, you may stockpile a few items, but they are items that will be used eventually, especially in a large family like we have.  The best part is the extra money you save can go to a night at the movies with the family, or put back for a family vacation, or even help get your kids to camp this summer.  Check out the video below and see if couponing is right for you.

This post has been added to the Family page of this website.