Parenting…Ah the joys….

I just finished reading a book called, “Raising Godly Tomatoes” by L. Elizabeth Krueger. It’s a great book on child-raising, filled with practical advice and most of all, it seems, Godly advice. I suppose I wished I would have had this when my oldest children were young.

This woman has raised, is raising 10 children ages 7-27! Wow…that’s even better than my wife and us! But one of the things that struck me towards the end of the book is when she said (paraphrase) It’s understandable that secular people go to secular humanism to find out answers to raising their children. But why do Christian parents do that. Sadly, most parents don’t even know all the evidence towards raising children that is found in the Bible.

I bought the book – even though you can basically get it for free by reading the website. I find books easier to read than websites. I recommend it highly and found very little I didn’t agree with. You should read it if your kids are anywhere between the ages of 0-20. I wish I would have had the last couple of chapters years ago – the note to raising the parents….hmmmm….

Parenting is full of joy. But it can also be frustrating. The goal isn’t to raise kids to be mannerly and responsible – although we should strive for that too, but the goal really ought to be to raise our kids into Godly Adults.

My wife’s and my personal mission statement is this: “As we grow in holiness we are called to raise responsible leaders who are shot out as flaming arrows to ignite the world for Christ.”

Get the book – it’s worth the read (even if you are a grandparent).

Simply Amazed!

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 7.07.23 AMAs a pre-teen of 12 years old, I attended a series of meetings that changed my life forever. I was amazed at what I learned about God and His grace. I was fascinated to learn that He loved me, already knew me, and wanted to spend time with me. I was just a kid! I was overpowered by the idea that he didn’t want to punish us forever in an eternally burning hell, so he didn’t create one. Over the course of 6 weeks, I came to an understanding and love for God that can only be described as remarkable. My life was forever changed.

The day before we went to church for the first time, I was doing a sleepover at my friend’s house. I smoked my first (and last) two cigarettes that night. We were also beginning to experiment with alcohol. I already had a god before I went to those meetings, it was baseball. In 6 short weeks, my life was changed and so was my community. There was one less person who would end up as an alcoholic, one less person who would think of following the gods of this age and one more person (at 12) who would become a preacher.

We are currently holding a similar series of meetings in my church. It’s a prophecy seminar. As I watch people leave each night, I see amazement. They are amazed at the things they are learning. That God loves them. That God doesn’t burn the wicked forever. That death is a sleep. I know they are in for so much more. But for now, I know that their amazement will change their lives, their family, and yes, even their community for the better.

Yep. Jesus does just that.

They are simply amazed right now. I still am too!

Live Your Life in Such a Way….

72232_10200326226828170_1143027126_nA Mentor-Friend of mine (he also used to be my boss) used to say, “Live your life in such a way that if someone started a rumor about you, no one would believe it.”

I’ve held onto that phrase for the better part of 25 years and tried to abide by it. By no means have I done it always. By no means have I reached a state of perfection. But it’s been my desire and my goal.

This week, I was troubled to hear of a friend, who has lived totally secret double life. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by this new information. This friend lived his life in a way that rumors abounded.

Here’s a good set of guidelines to live by:

8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Jos 1:7–9). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

I want the Lord to go with me wherever I go. I want to stand tall, to live a strong and courageous life. I hear in this passage, the way to do it is to live according to God’s standard. And in order to do that, I must not get very far away from His book. Scripture memorization, LIFE Journaling, obedience – these are some of the ways to keep close to God’s word.

That’s the way I desire to live. That’s why I’m held accountable to this by others – friends, wife, colleagues. I would encourage you live by God’s standards too!

What’s Your Job To Do Today?

I once heard singer Michael Card say that as a singer/songwriter, he had to schedule times for songwriting. Some days he would get up and even though it was on the schedule to write a song that day, he didn’t feel like it. He said, “Do you know what I do when I don’t feel like writing a song? I write a song.” I’ve heard writers say the same thing – I have to write whether I feel like it or not.

storm clouds with peopleI’m not a writer. I’m not a singer. I’m a leader. And as a leader, people are looking for me to lead – whether I feel like it or not. So, even when I don’t feel like it, I have to make decisions, cast vision, and shape the direction of my church. In the end, it’s a good quality. One of my core values says, “Discipline will get me where I want to go.” Discipline as a songwriter, as a writer, or as a leader, will get me where I want to go.