Archives For Family

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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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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Radio Shack Ad

How many gadgets featured in this 1991 Radio Shack ad does your smartphone outperform today?

  • Mobile cellular phone with memory speed-dial & answering machine – Check.
  • All weather personal stereo, AM/FM clock radio, and calculator – Seriously?
  • Tandy 1000 computer – My 3-year-old Keurig is more complex.
  • Handheld recorder, desktop scanner – There’s an App for that.
  • VHS camcorder – Remember when your dad had one the size of a small piano?

Is it any wonder then, why we’re so attached to technology? It practically puts the whole world in our hands!

Studies show most people check their phone over 110 times a day. Americans also consume over 34GB worth of information every single day. That’s more than 10 hours of TV or 40,000 Facebook posts. Every. Single. Day.

A simple walk around the block means our devices stream data from a myriad of sources unbeknownst to us. And even at bedside, our TVs and tablets have access to more information and images than folks of a few generations prior had in their entire lifespan.

Neil Postman, author of Amusing Ourselves to Death & Technology: The Surrender of Culture to Technology put it this…

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If you’re a parent, most likely you joined the parenting ranks with good intentions and excitement. But then somewhere along the way, you lost your confidence. If this describes you — don’t worry — you’re not alone. Every parent struggles at some point because the truth is, parenting is difficult! After all, our children didn’t arrive wrapped in a how-to instruction manual.

So it makes sense that most of us wind up relying on something we refer to as Quick-Fix Parenting, which is exactly like what it sounds — a quick fix to a problem. It’s not necessarily a good fix or a healthy fix or an empowering fix, and it’s definitely not an effective long-term strategy.

At its foundation, Quick-Fix Parenting becomes about stopping your children’s behavior or the agony connected to it — which is often your pain. It focuses on fixing your kid’s problem behavior, usually through verbal reprimands (often out of anger or frustration), negative instruction, and discipline for the sake of compliance.

But using these quick fixes to solve problems does not help kids grow up to become healthy and independent young adults.

So why do we resort to Quick-Fix Parenting?

Most parents…

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Nobody intentionally sets out to fail as a parent. No one plans on raising an axe murderer. I’ve never met a mom who lies in bed at night envisioning how to mess up her kids.

I have, however, met many parents who can’t sleep at night because they worry—a lot—about the fruit of their loins.

Where did I go wrong?

How could my son make such a terrible choice?

What’s up with my daughter? Seriously, what does she see in that guy?

I raised him “in the Lord,” and today he doesn’t want anything to do with God or church.

The struggle is real.

The doubts are crippling.

The personal agony is devastating.

My mom experienced distress and misery on my behalf. Once upon a time, I was a prodigal son. I walked away from God, the Church, my family, and my faith. It wasn’t pretty. I broke a lot of hearts, including my mom’s. Gratefully, she never gave up on me even though no one would have blamed her if she had.

Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs on the planet.

So what can a mother do when she has a wild, out-of-control child?

First, remember that you are responsible for how…

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In our parenting seminars, parents often ask us questions that reveal their fears about the negative influence of media, culture, and peers on their children. This is a normal concern in today’s crazy culture, but we answer their worry by telling them to be less concerned about “outside” influences and more concerned about their hugely significant roles as the primary influencers in their child’s lives.

More than anyone else, kids of all ages are influenced and shaped by their parents.

The only time this influence shifts away from parents and onto other influences is when parents are either physically or emotionally absent. In other words, if you as a parent decide to “opt-out” of the parenting scene, then you can expect culture and all it represents to be more than glad to step in.

Research and social science studies support the fact that the parent/child relationship significantly impacts a child throughout his or her lifetime. The parent’s role and involvement is essential to the child’s development of emotional health, academic advancement, and making significant life decisions.

A recent study found that “a lack of parental involvement can have long-lasting negative effects on a child. Children who…

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Junk Drawer

Junk drawers. We all have them. Maybe yours is in a desk or somewhere in the garage or kitchen. Junk drawers are fairly common.

Let me tell you why I’m writing about those hidden places filled with odds and ends, lest you think I’m about to rant about something inconsequential.

I’m using your physical junk drawer as a representation of a relational junk drawer you probably have in your life.

The relational one is the place where we put the people who baffle, annoy, irritate, or scare us. It’s that place in your heart where you stow people you can’t get out of your life, but whom you’d rather not deal with at the moment—or ever.

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Why do we have physical junk drawers?

  • It’s the spot where we put something when we don’t know where else to put it.
  • It’s the spot where we hide stuff because we like to appear neat and orderly on the outside.
  • It’s the spot where we leave items because it’s easier to throw something in a drawer than it is to put it in its proper place. In other words, we’re a bit lazy at times.

Why do we have relational junk drawers?

Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

People want to know God’s will for their lives, and when people ask about God’s will, they’re typically thinking about what they should do next in a particular area of their lives. Who should I marry? Where should I go to school? Which job should I accept? But these are all “number two’s” when it comes to God’s will. His will is, first and foremost, that we learn to give thanks.

Why is it always God’s will no matter what happens in my life that I am to give thanks, not for my circumstances but in my circumstances?

1. Gratitude honors God.

Gratitude honors God. Anytime you thank anyone you honor them. You need to learn to thank God not just for what he does but who he is.

“God, I thank you that you’re smarter than me… I thank you that your wisdom is greater… I thank you that you know what will make me happy more than I do… I thank you that you’re consistent when I‟m inconsistent… I thank you for your love… I thank you for your…

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“It’s not wealth that has made me happy, it’s my family.”

So said the popstar, Sting, in an interview. He comes from a poor working class background in the north of England, but now is wealthy. Do you agree that what’s most important in life is not our money or possessions or achievements, but our relationships? I believe that in life, relationships matter.

Dartmouth Medical School did a study concluding that children’s brains are “hardwired to connect.” The report states that, “more kids than ever suffer from depression, anxiety and attention deficit and conduct disorders.” The report went on to say that, “the lack of connectedness in society” is partially to blame. Without close relationships in our lives, stress and anxiety levels are more likely to increase. Yet, in our technological society close relationships are becoming harder and harder to maintain. We smile when we see people sitting at the same table buried in their iPhones rather than talking. Then we realize we sometimes do the same thing.

Meaningful and balanced relationships are essential to living a healthy life, and when these relationships are broken, the impact on everyone is enormous. While we all…

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