Archives For Family

Achievers

Men are wired for achievement. Ultimately, God made us this way so that we would pursue and achieve his purposes for our lives.

But there are a lot of reasons why men struggle to achieve the goals for which God made them.

  • We’re easily distracted by both opportunities and threats.
  • We’re criticized when we choose to follow God’s plan at any cost.
  • We’re often overwhelmed by the responsibilities of manhood.

Here are some words of wisdom for men who want to fulfill their God-given destinies and achieve his purposes . . .

1. Keep on working in spite of the distractions.

There are multiple kinds of distractions men face. Some are subtle and some are obvious, but we manage, often, to fall for both.

Positive distractions come in the form of opportunities to do more things than we were made to do. Often, these are “good” opportunities, except that they aren’t the opportunities God has led us to pursue. We get busy. We get overwhelmed. And we start finding our identity in work and business and secondary pursuits.

Negative distractions come in the form of enticement to sin, to slack off from our responsibilities, or to substitute our own…

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Man

Life is about embracing the process that leads to our progress.

That is, living a bold life means embracing our circumstances, good or bad, as a vehicle for learning and growing.

I don’t grow courage unless I face some fears. I don’t become more loving unless I’m challenged by harder-to-love people. I don’t learn to lead people well when I isolate myself.

You get the picture. Personal growth for men is about embracing challenge. Sometimes, we need to look for trouble!

Here’s the problem, though.

Most men don’t grow.

Most men stay trapped in passivity, rendered anemic by their fears, haunted by their pasts, and caged by their insecurities.

You wanna know who did grow?

Jesus.

Whether you’re a Christian or not, you’ll likely see the value very quickly in this description of Jesus’ growing up years:

Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people (Luke 2:52 NLT).

Jesus grew.

In fact, Jesus grew into the single greatest influencer the world has ever known. The entire world lives by a calendar that works because of Jesus (even though we’ve had to make some minor adjustments for accuracy).

While I think there are good male role models from all walks of life, I…

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VolcanoThe sound of the explosion was heard up to 3,000 miles away in Perth, Australia.

That is on the ground reports following the Krakatoa volcano eruption in Indonesia in 1883. Its “blast zone” was felt worldwide because of a strange event within the volcano which occurred as it was undergoing a “normal” explosion. So what happened you say?

The bottom line is this: something got inside it.  Tuck that thought away for now as  I give you a 20-second lesson in volcanology. Don’t worry. You can steal the illustration later at no charge!

As Krakatoa’s walls began to rupture after its first two explosions, ocean water entered the magmatic chambers of the volcano creating the conditions for a phreatomagmatic (pronounced free-atto-mag-matic) event. This was the secret power behind Krakatoa’s unusual force and displacement powers. In simpler terms: the mother of all pressure cookers was created, contained, and then carried outward at the moment when the power below overcame the pressure above holding it down.

The result: a super-explosion that, quite literally, rocked the world.

Sitting on a spiritual pressure cooker?

So what do phreatomagmatic volcanic events, Krakatoa, the Holy Spirit, and rocking the world have to do with God’s men in…

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Social media is here. It’s not a trend. It’s not a fad. It’s part of the atmosphere we breathe in, like oxygen. Like it or not, social media is here.

You and I who are parents of teens and preteens grew up in a very different world. I remember the first broadcast day for MTV. Remember the first video? It was “Video Killed the Radio Star.” And it was prophetic.

We also grew up at the advent of the Internet for home users, email, and social networking when it wasn’t cool.

Email started out as a kind of inter-office instant messaging system. Now, seven out of 10 people check their email a minimum of six times per day.

In the first internet generation, we would “dial up” and then “disconnect.” You could hear the modem scream and then hope for a “You’ve got mail” announcement.

Now, it’s always on. We’re absorbed in it.

I have a daughter and, as of this writing, she’s about to turn 15. I couldn’t be more proud of her maturity when it comes to social media and technology. But it’s something I think about every single day. I have two boys – currently 7 and 4 -…

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Pastor, if you’re like most men out there, you’re probably still looking for just the right gift for your wife this Mother’s Day. You may be searching the Internet, walking the aisles of a department store, or thinking through the perfect lunch.

But you may already have the perfect gift within your grasp.

In just about any survey you find about women’s needs, affection is at the top of the list. Affection symbolizes security, comfort, and approval. When a husband shows affection to his wife, he sends a powerful message to her: “I care for you. I’ll take care of you. I’ll protect you. I’m concerned for your needs. I approve of you. I’m proud of you.”

Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (NIV). The Amplified Bible says this in the verse, “be affectionate and sympathetic with them” (AMP). As long as Jesus Christ is first place in your life, it’s impossible to give your wife too much honor. The more you appreciate her, the more you love her, the more you show affection for her, the more she will mature in Christ.

You can learn to be affectionate. It doesn’t…

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The spouses of pastors often find themselves in a more isolated world of pain than the pastors themselves. Thus, the need for CPR (Celebrate Pastors in Recovery) for spouses is just as great. If you are interested in helping to start CPR for spouses of pastors in your area, please complete this survey that will let us know of your interest.

My wife, Julie, recognized the need for recovery in her own life and courageously chose not to wait for a spouse group to come available at the time, but travelled the 12-step journey with a group of women connected to our church’s Celebrate Recovery ministry. I asked her for permission to share her testimony with you and she graciously agreed. I trust it will bless and encourage you as it has others.

Blessings!

Hess

Hi. I am a believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with being an adult child of family dysfunction. My name is Julie.

As long as I can remember, my family went to church. My uncle was the pastor, my father was a deacon, and my mother was the Sunday school secretary of…

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I don’t know about you, but I find Mother’s Day a complicated holiday for a lot of different reasons. Some of you may as well. On the surface it looks like it’s made for Hallmark and Kodak moments and all those incredible things. And there’s a lot of ooey-gooey good sentiment that I love about Mother’s Day.

But I must tell you, I wrestle with some complicated emotions. Maybe some of you can relate. On one hand I have the absolute utter joy of celebrating Mother’s Day with my beautiful firstborn daughter, Amy, and our son, Joshua. But at the same time, there is a profound aching in our souls because Matthew, our youngest son, is not here with us. Our hearts are heavy. We miss him. We miss his loving presence.

Being a mother is a unique privilege. God’s Word says “Children are a gift from the LORD” (Psalm 127:3a NLT). As mothers, we receive that gift and experience the joy of pouring our heart and soul into our child’s life. At our core, we are wired to nurture and stand prepared to fiercely protect them from all danger. A mother’s soul is woven with…

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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:

image

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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