Archives For Family

Dale (not his real name) was in my office, and through sobs of despair and shame, he said, “I don’t know what happened or why, but I cheated on my wife, and now she’s found out and is leaving me.”

I wish I could tell you confessions like that are rare. They’re not.

The question I want you to consider with me is this: Is illicit sex worth it?

In particular, are adultery and pornography worth the cost?

On a regular basis, I teach that sex is a gift from God, and it is. Regardless of the current level of satisfaction in your marriage, sex is a blessing from the Creator. He wants you to experience loving, creative, and exciting sex with your spouse. That’s God’s plan, and after over forty years of marriage, I can tell you from firsthand experience—it’s awesome when his plan comes together.

Few want to hear this, and even fewer believe it nowadays, but illicit sex outside of your marriage, including adultery and pornography, is costly. Tragically, we humans tend to focus on the “fringe benefits” of immorality rather than the high cost of our infidelities.

According to researchers:

I grew up with parents who were evangelists. What that meant, in the 1960s and ’70s, is that my dad, along with three brothers, traveled as a quartet and held revivals all over the country.

Here’s a clip of them appearing on the old TV show “I’ve Got a Secret”:

My mom and aunts often went with their husbands and sang with them.

My parents are the second couple from the right in this photo:

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My husband, Tim, grew up with a father who was a preacher, and both of his parents were singers as well. Our kids were blessed to have so many potential musical genes! Tim’s sweet father was quite a hard worker in ministry, to the point of being a workaholic (as my dad and other men of that generation were, too). Pressure was put on ministers in those days to work all the time and be on call around the clock.

Sadly, some ministry kids grow up resenting the church, and I’d love to help you avoid that situation. I’ve heard my parents say many times how awful it’d be if they won to Christ thousands of people but not their own children,…

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Parenting

One of the greatest legacies of any pastor is for his children to grow up loving God and loving the church passionately.

Yet this is often not the story of the children of a pastor. Why? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question.

A Brief Testimony

Through the years, hundreds of people have asked how they could pray for our family. Jeana and I made one thing very clear through the years that our boys were living at home with us: Pray for Josh and Nick to love God and love the church passionately.

By grace alone, both Josh and Nick, now in their 30s, love God and love the church passionately. Josh lives in metropolitan Birmingham, Alabama, serving as the head football coach of the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies. He and his wife, Kate, love God and love the church passionately.

Nick is the leader of our Cross Church staff team and serves as teaching pastor of not just our Fayetteville campuses, but across the ministry. He and his wife, Meredith, love God and love the church passionately.

Now Josh and Kate and Nick and Meredith have the privilege of raising their children to live as they did…

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Family Hiking

“It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the LORD, you are safe.” Proverbs 29:25 GNT

A ‘front’ by its definition can “cause the weather to change dramatically because it occurs along the boundary between two air masses with different densities and temperatures.”

I was thinking about the past false ‘fronts’ that I put up around people who did much of the same in my life. Even as a teenager, I could be whatever you wanted me to be as long as it made you and others happy.

People pleasing began to develop in my life as I tried to be all things to all people.  It caused nothing but storms in my life – even as I grew into an adult.  In my mind, I was the one trying to hold everything together. I was trying to keep the family at peace even though I was never specifically asked to do so.

Much like thunderstorms, my unhealthy ‘fronts’ and broken boundaries were all about making others happy at my expense. This caused my outlook on life to change dramatically, leaving me hopeless and unsatisfied with who I…

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Parent and Child

One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them that God loves them unconditionally.

It’s extremely important that we teach our kids that they are loved, not because they earned our love or are good enough to be loved, but that they’re loved because God put them into our families to be loved.

This is hard for many of us because we have had a hard time receiving God’s unconditional love ourselves. God wants us to spend some time with him, letting him love us, and in turn giving that unconditional love to our kids.

How can we show God’s unconditional love to our families? Here are two practical ways:

1. Forgive your kids as God forgives you.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (NCV).

I love that God forgives me, but I’m not always ready to give that same kind of forgiveness to other people. Parenting requires massive doses of forgiveness. You’re in a position all the time to forgive your kids for things that they do.

2. Never give up on your kids.

We’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7a,…

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Kid with a BibleHi, my name is Sylvia, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with co-dependency and food issues. I came to Celebrate Recovery in a different way than most. I have led our Celebrate Recovery Kids Time program for eight years. The kids had fun and got to see Jesus each week. However, this was not helping improve their lives. I had a strong management background and knew how to take care of kids. I thought that was all I needed.

Although I was a Christian who had strong faith, I wasn’t actively seeking time with Christ to work on my stuff. I was not learning who he wanted me to be. I struggled with abandonment issues with my earthly father, and I didn’t want to search for a deeper relationship with God. I did my job and wanted the best for the kids. I did not focus on life-change for them because my life hadn’t changed yet. I didn’t understand what that really meant.

We started using the Celebration Place curriculum immediately after its release. We loved the lessons but hadn’t ever gone through Celebrate Recovery

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RebelAs a pastor, more than other people, I see the hurt and the heartbreak that happens in a family when a child makes rebellious and destructive decisions. And thankfully, there’s a story in the Bible that offers us a lot of insight.

What has often been called “the story of the prodigal son” is really a picture of how God shows his holiness, his goodness, and his kindness to his children — each son in this story was rebellious in his own way. Some of the insights we learn about parenting from this story might surprise you.

The story, found in Luke 15:11-32, unfolds in three stages.

Stage 1: Rebellion.

Beginning in verse 11, “Jesus said, `There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.'”

Stage one is rebellion. In every parent-child relationship, there’s going to be a struggle. It’s a struggle for control, a power struggle.

At birth, as a parent, you are…

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CherishAbout five centuries ago, Copernicus changed the way we think about our universe when he postulated that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of our universe. (We, of course, now know that it isn’t the center of the universe, but the Sun remains the center of our solar system.) Plato, Socrates, Augustine, and Aquinas all lived without understanding a basic truth that any educated person today takes for granted.

One hundred years later, just four centuries ago, Sir Isaac Newton discovered what we call gravity, something that even a contemporary fifth-grader could describe.

The relative youth of basic knowledge is rather stunning. For all his wisdom and brilliant insight, Aristotle knew less of hard science — astronomy, anatomy, and even physics — than the vast majority of Advanced Placement high school students do today. It’s remarkable to consider relatively recent advancements in intelligence and understanding.

A TV series like Mad Men, initially set just 60 years ago, seems like a ridiculous relic of an atrocious past — men treated women like that? People were that insensitive to race issues?

Just as intellect and social understanding have grown, so our love should grow, as…

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The most fundamental question that teenagers in your community will ever wrestle with is, “Why am I here?”

Unlike past generations, teens today aren’t looking for the meaning of life. Instead, they’re searching for meaning in life, a purpose for living, something that makes their lives worth living.

The fact is they’re seeking the very thing for which God made them, and that’s why it’s important you consistently teach teens about their purpose in life.

The Bible teaches that God made everyone – even teenagers – with a purpose.

For instance, in Colossians we’re told, “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible … everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him” (Colossians 1:16 MSG).

Do you think you would see a difference in the life of your teenage son or daughter if he or she felt truly and wholly accepted by God? What if they understood – deeply – that they belonged to the family of God? Or that the hand of God will guide them – deliberately – throughout life?

How do you think your teens would react if they discovered that God created them for a specific mission in…

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I am a perfect dad.

Just don’t ask any of my three kids. No need to trouble my wife either.

Okay so I am not a perfect dad. Not even close.

So then why do I still have it stuck in my head that if I could only find myself in the perfect situation…parenting would be such a snap? And I think you know what I mean by “perfect situation.” It’s the one where no one is rushed for time and every head is cool and every child’s heart is open for parental wisdom.  It’s the world where our kids approach us after they’ve just finished washing all the dishes from our family supper and earnestly beseech: “Father, teach us from thine Scriptures. Our hearts long for eternal truth over the trappings of these temporal video games.”

Again, not even close.

Fortunately, the picture of family life painted in the Old Testament is just as chaotic as our own, if not more.  Life was full of challenges for the people of God. Family life even more so.  Think of it this way: when the people of God were not held in captivity, they were wandering in the desert….

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I’m a sucker for vintage Disney stories. I have a collection of old Disney story books from my childhood and often read them to my boys. Tonight we chose The Aristocats, and I was moved by the final page. I’ve seen the movie and read the story dozens of times in my life, but I’ve never really stopped to take notice of the great story of redemption in O’Malley the alley cat’s life.

Duchess and her kittens are abandoned by the house butler, Edgar, and left to die in the French countryside. Along comes the loner, O’Malley, who has no interest in taking responsibility for the lives of others. But through the crisis of their lostness, O’Malley’s heart breaks and he becomes the hero, guiding them safely back home. At the end of the story, Edgar gets fired and sent away and the Madame of the house adopts O’Malley into her family of felines. And the final page says,

Madame said she needed a cat who was smart and brave.

So O’Malley decided to stay.

He was a very good father.

“How did we ever get along without you?” asked Duchess.

O’Malley just smiled.

The end.

I’m a Pastor, so in my line of…

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If you’re a parent, then our guess is that you’ve thought about what it’s going to be like when your child eventually leaves home one day. You’ve probably also wondered, what kind of person is my child going to become someday? And have I been a good parent or have I just been the inspiration for my child’s future psychotherapy?

All kidding aside, perhaps this is leading you to wonder: Is how I’m parenting right now really the best I have to offer my kids?

Let’s face it. Raising kids in today’s crazy culture is an incredible challenge! If parents were ever given an owner’s manual with instructions on how to raise kids, it would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?

As ministry leaders, we’ve spent the last 30 years working with thousands of kids. During this time, we’ve talked to many parents who said they desire to help their kids thrive and be successful, yet they don’t feel confident as parents.

The problem is that most parents don’t have a plan when it comes to raising their kids.

Without a plan, most parents default to what we call, Quick-Fix Parenting. This is the reactive, spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants parenting….

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