Family Life

Quick thoughts on Balance

Just some quick thoughts…I know I am not the only one.  I have talked to tons of others but how to deal with it?

I am a father, a husband, an employee, a student and a Christian, in many areas these things overlap but often they do not.  Where do you find time for it all?  To be successful I need to read a lot for my job.  I need to study and continually improve myself.  I am sure there are many jobs where this isn’t required but mine is not one of them.  How am I supposed to balance my time?

When you feel a call to ministry on your life (as I do) you seem to place a higher priority on study of the Bible and theology than “normal Christians.”  I wonder if that has hindered my career.  God has not yet called me into full time ministry, I don’t know that he ever will but I have tried to walk a line between being prepared for both full time ministry and my full time IT career, so I have not been able to give full attention to either.

How do you balance learning about God and career?

Just some quick thoughts…I know I am not the only one. I have talked to tons of others but how to deal with it?

I am a father, a husband, an employee, a student and a Christian, in many areas these things overlap but often they do not. Where do you find time for it all? To be successful I need to read a lot for my job. I need to study and continually improve myself. I am sure there are many jobs where this isn’t required but mine is not one of them. How am I supposed to balance my time?

When you feel a call to ministry on your life (as I do) you seem to place a higher priority on study of the Bible and theology than “normal Christians.” I wonder if that has hindered my career. God has not yet called me into full time ministry, I don’t know that he ever will but I have tried to walk a line between being prepared for both full time ministry and my full time IT career, so I have not been able to give full attention to either.

How do you balance learning about God and career?

Family Life Fatherhood

Fathers and Prayer

How to pray for your children?

  1. Consistently
  2. Constantly
  3. Fervently

You find when you are a parent that your children reflect many things about you that make you smile and many things that will make you weep.  Often I find I am most frustrated with my children at moments when they are acting just like me.  Praying for your children in their presence will not only have the affect of prayer but also of teaching them that prayer is important to you and therefore to them.

There have been many times when I had to go to my daughters and repent for my temper and I have more than once heard my daughter repenting in prayer on the baby monitor. (Yea I felt bad for eavesdropping but I was too touched to turn it off).  I don’t believe she would have done this if it had not been for the fact that she has seen me do it and had learned from me.

Fathers, understand that raising children up in discipline and instruction of the Lord means more than teaching them facts, but teaching them how to live as a disciple of Jesus, even if you are still figuring out what this means, as most of us are.  Both parents are called to raise children but as the head of your house the largest responsibility belongs to you.

We should pray for our children consistently, creating a pattern of prayer will help them to do so in their own life, making it as natural to their daily pattern as breathing, eating and sleeping.  That is why we pray over our meals, not only because we should be thankful for the fact that have more food than we can possibly eat but because it is good to build a pattern into your life until prayer becomes a habit.

You can not pray too much for your children, I took a tip from Matt Chandler and constantly pray that my children would be protected from my sins.  This isn’t a bad prayer for everyone.  I don’t want my children to learn from my anger issues or my pride; I want them to be spared from those issues if at all possible, I am sure they will have enough sin issues of their own without inheriting mine.

Realize that your prayers will have an affect on your children and will create a passion in you to pray for them.

If you would like a place to start, pray these scriptures over your children.

Numbers 6:24-26

Eph 1:17-23

Eph 3:14-20

Family Life

How do I get out of this rut?

<rant>Ever since I left my position as a youth pastor, I have been on cruise control in my personal spiritual life, and I am not happy about it.

I still read and study scripture but not as much as I would like.  I have recently joined with some other men in learning about what it means to be leaders in the church but I still don’t feel like my life is thoroughly committed to Christ.  He is more like a window dressing.

I want to love my wife as Christ loves the church and as much as I try I fail by to great a margin.  I want to raise my children to know and understand the good news of God’s great gift for us and I want them to not only hear it but see it in my life.  I fail here as well.

I want to serve my community with the heart of the Father loving the unlovely but I stay sheltered in my home and in my holy huddle far too much.

Here is the problem I am part of a great community of believers but we are actively not a programmatic church so I can’t just plug in join some fill in the blank ministry and cruise to holiness.  I don’t know how to operate under these conditions!  I am learning slowly that God works each of these things out in a personal way through his Holy Spirit but it is much more beneficial but much more difficult than I would like. </rant>

Just had to get that off of my chest.

Family Life Fatherhood

Children are Kids Not Adutls

Have you ever had something in your head, you aren’t sure where it came from but it makes a difference in your life?

“Most of you didn’t want kids, you wanted little adults.”  I know it was Matt Chandler but I can’t remember most of the context where he said it but I do realize that is much of my problem.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to have kids when I got married, but I eventually came to want kids.  If I look back at my thoughts of what it would be like to have kids I think I was expecting little adults and not children.  I didn’t have any little kids around me growing up; I am the youngest in my family.  I didn’t really know what to expect from children but apparently it wasn’t reality.

Children are kids not adults.  They don’t have fully functioning brains they are not fully developed and don’t work like an adults. (duh)

Another thing along these lines that has stuck with me came from a former Pastor, Dave Diyanni.  When you are learning hot to discipline your children the bible talks a lot about foolishness but not about childishness and there is a difference.  In Bible terms foolishness isn’t just about being silly but a disobedient no God fearing idiot.  His example was that if a kid spills milk at the table because they were reaching for it and missed that is childish.  Their coordination sometimes fail, they didn’t realize it would stick to the rubber mat when they tried to drag it instead of picking it up.  You don’t discipline children for that.

If they are specifically told not to do something but are defying you and spill the milk then they should be disciplined, not for the spill but for the foolishness of defiance.

Parents think about your children as kids, they are not little adults they will screw up.  Or job is to help them to grow in the admonition of the Lord, to train them up in the way they should go but we can’t expect them to start off where we are.

Family Life Fatherhood Godfidence Theology

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
We have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

Later added anonymously:

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

This is the song I sing my girls to sleep with almost every night.  Amazingly, my oldest still hasn’t asked me what a wretch is but, she has asked why we will have “no less days to sing his praise”.  That she now seems to understand.  I didn’t grow up with more traditional kids songs like “Jesus Loves Me” so, I sing hymns, which I also didn’t grow up with but I like better.  I also hope it helps to tie them to the universal and timeless church.

My favorite stanza is the second.  I have recently felt as if God has revealed his Grace to me in an entirely new way and it has opened my eyes more and more to what grace truly means.

John Newton published this song in 1779 and it has been called his biography in verse.  I think that rings true to every Christian which is why the song has been around and popular for over 200 years.

Family Life Godfidence Theology

Leading your wife.

After writing another post I decided to talk a little about being the spiritual man of my house.

Now although it is fairly unpopular today I believe in a Biblical distinction between male and female roles.  This idea is called complimentarianism as it is believed that the roles compliment one another.  The belief that there is no distinction of roles called for is called egalitarianism.  Please understand that I believe both men and woman are equally image bearers of God and are both loved equally.   Gal 3:28-29 tells us that

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

When it comes to our salvation I believe we are all equal before the Lord.  However just as the Son submits himself to the Father and we are to submit our selves to our local church leadership, I believe wives are called to submit to their own husbands. Eph 5:22.

Now believe me when I say I am not always thrilled about this idea.  Sin manifests in many ways in my life and very often it is in the form of complacency and laziness.  I wish I could reject my authority and leave everything of to my wife.  Many men do and it is a constant temptation to many I have talked to.  It would make life so much easier but I don’t believe that is my calling.

I am called to lead my home spiritually but I was never quite sure what that is supposed to look like.  While my father was a great man in many ways he never filled this role so I really didn’t see it modeled in my house.  I have seen glimpses of it in the lives of some men I have admired but never really took the time to learn as I assumed it would come naturally when the time came. (That is a mistake, don’t make it)

This year Heather and I have been reading through the Bible together and it has opened the door to many opportunities to share the gospel with one another.  Leading our community group has forced us to take the time to discuss things we are learning in church, which has also been awesome.

Men if you are not already, find a way to lead your wife.  It is part of being a husband and a man.

So, do you do it?  How?

Family Life Godfidence Theology

Easter Lessons

As part of being A Godly father I spend a lot of time thinking about how to teach my children about the Lord.  As a family we do our best to take advantage of the Holidays and focus on the real point of it all.  (Alora said Easter is her favorite because Jesus is alive and we get east eggs)

This year we are again making the Jesus tomb suggested by John and Noel piper.  We will build a giant mound of dough in to a tomb (using a can for the tomb itself) and we will build crosses and people out of pipe cleaners.  We put Jesus in the tomb on Good Friday and Easter morning we hide him near by so the Girls can find him.

But in order to help us tell the story Heater also found “Resurrection Eggs” They are 12 little plastic Easter eggs each with a number and inside is an item that helps you tell the story of the resurrection.  So, 1 is a little donkey for Palm Sunday when Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem.

The girls are ecstatic about them and hopefully by next year Alora will be able to tell us the story.

Don’t let Holidays become just about the secular trappings, or let the spiritual significance be pushed off to the side.

Christianity Family Life Godfidence

When words are many…

Have you ever just been hit with a scripture that just knocked you out?

Last week The Resurgence sent out scripture verse as they often do but this one gave me more reason to pause and reflect than most. Because it struck a nerve.

When words are many transgressions are not lacking, but whomever retrains his lips is prudent. — Prov 10:19

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I have a big mouth. I love to talk, one of my favorite activities is to sit around and have a good conversation.  Most of my friends are story telling, entertaining personalities we are an outgoing group the often lets our mouths go for the sake of a good time.  Often I have gotten to the end of the night and thought “that went to far”

Recently, I have found my mouth getting me into trouble the more I talk. Honestly at time I think it is my pride and ego the causes me to talk because I want to be though of more highly than I deserve. In reality I should more often keep my mouth shut.

Christianity Family Life Godfidence Theology

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Everyone has heard of Mardi Gras but how many of us know that it is connected to Lent and the Christian Tradition?  I best most people don’t make the connection.

You know spending most of my walk with the Lord in modern Evagelical churches I was never really taught much about older traditions in the Church.  Having gone to a Lutheran church when I was first saved I have at least heard some of the titles.

Today is Ash Wednesday, it marks the beginning of Lent.  Lent is a traditional time of preparation, via repentance, prayer, alms giving and self-denial, for the Holy Week and celebration or Easter or Resurrection Sunday.  Mardi Gras literally “Fat Tuesday” was the last chance to eat the rich fatty foods before a period of fasting.  A sort of “Smoke ’em if you got ’em” kind of day.

Most people think of Lent as the 40 days before Easter but many denominations count these times differently. (See this article for more information)  No matter the duration you observe the purpose should be the same.

No matter which way you choose to observe the season it is a wonderful experience.   The years when I have taken is seriously it has been an enriching time of growth.   Take some prayerful time to consider what God would have you to do to observe Lent and prepare for the Holiest of day in the Christian year.

There are traditionally three types of Justice to be observed in the Lenten Season: Justice to God, yourself, and others.

(God)Dedicate more time to prayer by giving up: TV, Video Games, sleep or something else that takes up your time.

(Self)What can you do?  Many people give up a certain type of food: meat, red meat, caffeine, candy and sweets.

(Others)Dedicate the money you save in doing these thing to give away to others, your local church, homeless shelter or other ministry.

Christianity Family Life Fatherhood Godfidence

Repenting to my kids

There is nothing more humbling than having to repent to your two and four year old.

Not twenty four hours after I spent the day at a Conference dedicated to helping Men be more Godly I snapped at both of my little girls and my wife in major way.  I will be completely honest and let you know I have a temper.  It usually takes a lot to push me to the point where I snap but when I do it is embarrassing.

Sunday afternoon I snapped and startled both of my little girls.  They were crying and I was mortified.  I went downstairs and took them in my arms as I asked them to forgive me.  I explained, more to my oldest, that I had sinned in my anger and I was wrong.  She answered the way she always does, “It is OK daddy, I forgive you” I then asked her to pray for me that God would help me to control my temper.

I hope in this way my daughters can see that I am a sinful imperfect human being saved by the grace of God just as they are.  I hope to model repentance to them but maybe not about the same things all the time.