Archives For Family

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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I don’t know about you, but I find Mother’s Day a rather 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 ooy-gooy good sentiment that I love about Mother’s Day.

But I have to 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 first born 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 127:3 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…

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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?

I grew up with parents who were evangelists. What that meant, in the 1960’s and 70’s 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 a show called 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! His 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). Pressure was put on ministers in those days to work all the time and be on call around the clock.

I want to share from a place of experience, some “how’s and why’s” we raised our children with.

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…

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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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Family Laugh

Guitars sound nice because of stress. Great guitarists know how to turn the tuning pegs just enough that all six strings are in harmony with one another and on key. But too much stress, too much tension, can stretch or break a string.

In the same way, every family will experience stress and tension. It’s inevitable, and it’s possible to experience peace together even in the middle of tension. But too much stress can cause us to snap and lose our harmony.

Families are experiencing unprecedented stress today. It results from economic hardship, the rat race at work, global and cultural events, high educational standards, peer pressure, and much more. I’m convinced that home ought to be a little like a island – a safe place in a war zone. And the Bible gives us some simple wisdom about some valuable practices for peaceful homes.

Learn to Laugh

Proverbs 15:13 says, A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” (ESV) Laughter is like medicine, and laughing together as a family is highly therapeutic. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to find things to laugh about. My daughter and…

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7 Ways Senior Pastors Can Keep Teenagers Listening To Their Sermons

Photo Credit: AllStarsYouth via Compfight cc

A few months ago a 13-year-old girl approached me after I preached, and excitedly proclaimed, “Good sermon. I actually paid attention to your whole message! I didn’t get bored once!”

My first thought was, “Thank you Jesus! I have witnessed a miracle! A 13-year-old girl’s fleeting attention was held by a sermon over 30 minutes.”

But then I thought, “Hey, wait a minute… What is she saying about all my other sermons?”

Engaging the short attention span of teenagers (and even adults) is not easy. But if you are a Senior Pastor, and there are teenagers in the room, you better engage them or you will lose them.

I’m not saying that I have mastered this, but here are some tips that I have found helpful.

How Senior Pastors Can Keep Teenagers Listening to Their Sermons

1. Be Authentic

The most important thing you can do in your sermon is be the same person on stage that…

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Most church planters who have kids ask the question at some point, is church planting really the best for my kids?

I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience, the answer is yes. Here’s why it matters: because answering that question with a yes could mean that you plant the church you’re thinking about. Even more, it could be the best thing for your children.

Now God could raise up a church planter from a stone if he wanted, so he doesn’t need you to do it. But he designed us to pass on our faith to the next generation through church planting, among other ways.

My father and I talk about how God redeemed our family a little bit in Dedicated: Training Your Children to Trust and Follow Jesus, but I wanted to share something here that I’ve never written on—the lessons I learned specifically as a church planter’s son.

My parents answered the question, is it best for my children? Yes. In fact, one of the major reasons my parents wanted to plant a church was because they thought it was best for us. They thought, given our circumstance, it…

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“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52

This year at Dare 2 Share’s Live it up tour we are going to unpack what it means to live it up in the Quad. What is “the Quad”? It represents four key areas of what it means to be human: intellectual, physical, spiritual and relational.

When Jesus got back from what was his first trip to Jerusalem as a teenager he grew in each of these areas. He grew “in wisdom.” The Greek word for wisdom here is “sophia” and means “wisdom, insight, skill (human or divine), intelligence.” Jesus most likely went to school (like other Jewish boys of his time) and excelled. He listened, learned and studied hard.

Jesus wasn’t born with a built in omniscient chip that allowed him not to have to study. He studied like any other red-blooded Jewish boy. He just did it unencumbered by sin and solely focused on His Father’s glory.

Teenagers who follow Jesus need to follow him to study hall and do their homework with diligence, precision and focus. It matters more than you might think!

Jesus grew in…

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