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Archive for March, 2009

I mentioned in a previous post that we hosted acclaimed author and speaker Gary Thomas this past Friday. His topic was Sacred Parenting. If you would like to listen to his talk, click here. I pray that God will show you clearly what he wants you to take and apply from this talk.

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Flooded with emails. Text message after text message. Kids in the hall stopping and asking questions. Today is a bit different than most. Why? One word: Cal. The city of Memphis is talking about Coach Cal and his potential departure to Kentucky. It is all that anyone wants to talk about. Our local news has a scrolling story about it during regularly scheduled programming. Talk radio is a having a field day with it. Boys are stopping me in the halls and asking if it could possibly be true. This topic has dominated conversations today. The more I hear, the more I wonder. What dominates most of our conversations as families? Are we intentional in our conversations or do we just let regular everyday news drag us into monotonous conversation. How can we use news stories to speak truth into our families? Do our conversations promote worldly success or do we find ways to show the gospel to our children through stories? At the end of the day, what do our conversations tell our children about what we value? I read this blog post from Shawn Groves today and I thought it fit well into the news of Coach Cal today:

“On your first day on the other side of the grave, do you think you’ll look back on this life and be flooded with gratitude for hours spent watching episodes ofAmerican Idol and Lost?  Will you wish you’d done more of that? Do you think you’ll look back fondly on the effort and money spent remodeling the kitchen?  Will you wish you’d had a nicer home? Do you think you’ll be glad you were up-to-date on the juicy details of celebrity lives?  Will you wish you’d read more magazines? Will you regret not spending more time at the office?  Will you wish you’d logged just a few more hours every week at work? Will you miss your blog or Facebook?  Will you wish you’d just had a couple hundred more readers, just a few more “friends?”

I pray that we don’t look back at our time with our children and think that we did not spend enough time talking about things with eternal value. May the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be the dominating topic in our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, our country and our world.  

Speak Truth. Be Intentional!

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PDS hosted noted author and speaker Gary Thomas on Friday. Gary spoke on the topic of Sacred Parenting. His talk was genuine and one of the best I have heard in quite some time. I wanted to share my notes with you so that you could get a small glimpse of what he was sharing with our parents. Please forgive me if my notes are not up to par. I was trying to write fast and still continue to keep my page in an orderly fashion (the OCD in me). Hope you enjoy these thoughts and ideas.  

  • Parents need to be shaken out of complacency
  • What are we (parents) learning from the children we have been given
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1- purify
  • Instead of thinking it would be much easier to purify our spouses and children, we should look to ourselves
  • Transformation does not happen by accident
  • We need to focus on the spiritual climate of our home
  • Take a hard look at attitude  in our family
  • While people judge by our children’s actions, God judges by our reactions
  • Stop being mortified and start being modified
  • What is God showing you through issues with your kids (are you too harsh, over bearing, critical, selfish, etc.)
  • Are we child-centered or God-centered parents
  • Families are to be gospel pictures of reconciliation
  • As our kids grow older, we must work to transfer allegiance from us to God
  • A guilt based faith will not motivate a child
  • Kids need to see that God uses imperfect people (James 3:2)

Three major takeaways from the talk:

1) You never no how long you will have with your children: be intentional.

2) Am I making my life and parenting about Him?

3) Do my children see progress (growth) in my life?

It was a great talk. I hope that you can get something from my notes. So many things touched my heart during his talk. I hope you will review these notes and take an inventory of your family. I will post the link to the podcast once we have the talk up on our website.

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The Waiting Game

Our baby girl has been sick for awhile now. We found out that she will need tubes in her ears. She has not been sleeping well and I was up with her last night from 1:30-3:30 am. As I was holding her I thought back to the last time we were in the hospital with one of our children. Sitting in the hospital with your three year old waiting for surgery is not very much fun. He was having his tonsils and adenoids taken out. The process was relatively uneventful until one moment. Parents with children who have had surgery know the moment. There comes a time when the nurse has to take your child from you and you realize something very important. At this particular moment and for the ones immediately following, you have no control. You are giving your child over to another’s care and trusting that everything will be okay. Although the time may be short, you still feel completely helpless. All you can do is sit, wait, pray, and trust. It really is an odd feeling. There are not many times that we truly feel like we are not in control. That is the way our society works. The media pushes the idea that it is all about us. We think we do not need anyone’s help. Jesus teaches the exact opposite. He shows us that we need to live like the moment that I experienced during our son’s surgery. Jesus calls us to relinquish control of our lives to Him. 

Are we living our lives like we have relinquished control of our lives to Him? Are there still things that we are holding on to? Do we still feel like we need to control some areas of our life? Parents, we need to model a life that shows our children that the God of the Universe is in control and that we trust Him. But are they really seeing that in us? Are they seeing us in the Word on a daily basis? Are they seeing us speak truth? Are they seeing us believe in God for big things? How can we better model a life of relinquished control? What a powerful statement that would make to see families living with relinquished control and complete trust in the One who saves! Let’s go create a New Normal for parenting!

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I was reminded of this story from the Brady House the other day and thought I would share:

I have two boys at home that have a typical brother relationship. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Not too long ago was one of those times that it didn’t. The boys were playing outside when one of our neighbors called down and invited the boys to play in their yard. Needless to say they were excited to go. They began to run down the sidewalk together when my youngest son fell and scratched his knee. Being the dramatic child of our three, he began to cry and play it up for all it was worth. I would love to end the story by telling you that my oldest son stopped, helped his brother up, and gave him a great big hug. Instead, my oldest looked down at his hurting brother and then just kept running, leaving his brother crying and searching for help. Obviously, the potential fun in our neighbor’s yard outweighed the desire to help a brother in need. 

Have you ever had an experience like that at your house? I am sure you have. The more I thought about that situation, the more I began to ponder how many times I do that in my life. Am I modeling a life of taking initiative for the benefit of others? I wish I could answer yes. My needs OFTEN outweigh the needs of others. We live in a selfish world that places importance on what we need as individuals. What would our world look like if we as parents decided to parent in a way that went against the trend. We might feel like we were spitting in the wind but I know at some point the wind would change direction. What would our world look like if we raised a generation of children that started taking initiative for the benefit of others?

What part of your parenting framework involves developing in your kids a life of service? Our family mission statement  gives us a common vocabulary that we can use to help remind our family that we are about taking initiative for the benefit of others. That can be used in small tasks and big issues. What are some common words or phrases that you use in your house to help develop service? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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I recently read this article from Dennis and Barbara Rainey (Family Life) and I wanted to share some of it along with some thoughts of my own. Rainey says, “your child at some point in his/her teen years needs to develop the following convictions”:

  1. Jesus Christ must be my Savior and Lord.
  2. Regular prayer must be a crucial part of my daily life.
  3. I must be the same person in private that I am in public.
  4. The Scriptures are God’s Word and serve as my daily guide.
  5. Nothing is more thrilling than fulfilling God’s mission for my life.
  6. I will pass on a godly legacy to the next generation.

“From early on we let our children know that God has a special mission for their lives. He has gifted them with abilities, personality, and certain qualities that will help accomplish His plan. We want our children to know that it would be better to be the lowliest worker in the will of God than to be on the mission field just to please their parents- or for some other reason.”

As I read this article, I must admit that I felt extremely inadequate as a parent. My personality demands structure and without it I do not fare well. One of the reasons for my creation of a family crest was to give me a framework in which I could parent. The statements made by the Raineys caused me to look at my life and ask myself the following questions:

  • What am I doing as a parent to develop those convictions in my children?
  • Am I more concerned with developing worldly success than godly success?
  • What kind of legacy am I building in my kids?
  • Am I developing a purpose in my kids that transcends the rush to follow the herd?
  • Am I modeling the convictions that I am trying to develop in my children?

I pray that you will struggle over these questions with me and create a plan that will help you parent with these convictions in mind. The good news is that despite any feelings of inadequacy we as parents might have, His grace is sufficient and His mercy endures forever. Go parent intentionally!

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This is one of my favorite olympic moments. I was not even born when this occurred but I have seen it a number of times and it always fires me up. I showed this in chapel this morning and made three points to the boys and I thought you might want to discuss them at home as a family. I also included some parenting points and questions that you can discuss as well.

  • Do not let others dictate who you are or what you are about: stick to the plan. Dave Wottle had a plan and he stayed with it. He did not let any of the other runners dictate what he was going to do. Joshua 1:8 tells us to meditate on His Word day and night. We must stick to the plan, parent according to scripture and not let society dictate who we are as parents and how we parent our children.
  • Even though we might have a slow/bad start, we can still finish strong. The good news of the gospel is that even though we have blown it, we serve a loving and forgiving God. There is hope for you and me. Parents, take initiative now and finish this journey with your kids. Know that there is hope and that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, you can start fresh today.
  • What are you doing, good or bad, that makes you stand out?  The first thing people mention when I talk about this video is that he was running with that white hat. Most people remember that above all other things. What are you doing as parent that makes you stand out? Are those things good or bad? How do you act when your child gets in trouble at school? How do you act during his/her athletic events? Are you living a life of comparison with other parents?  Are you creating a New Normal as a family and that makes you stand out? Are you parenting for the Glory of God or for the glory of your kids or yourself? 

Stick to the plan, finish strong, and stand out for the Glory of God!

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