So What Is Your Story?

My Story

Photo Credit: mbgrigby via Compfight cc

This past week our Lead Pastor, Chris, challenged us as a church to allow our testimony… “Our Story”, to be used by God. Step one of this is to simply tell it.

So here I am, a pastor of a local church in a small community. Naturally, this is a piece of cake for a pastor right? That’s what most people think, but what you don’t realize though is that as a pastor, I’m use to people stopping these kinds of conversations before that ever get started, thus making this a lot trickier than you might expect.

So no, I didn’t run straight home and go talk with an unsuspecting neighbor, nor did I corner the first cashier at the grocery store. Instead I prayed and looked for a natural opportunity to share my story.

Funny thing happens when you pray for an opportunity to share your story and look for it… God gives it to you.

Sure enough, Thursday morning (at the gym) the opportunity presented itself with “So… what do you do for a living?”

Here’s my story in under 2 minute: 

I’m a husband, a dad, and Christ follower.

Life Before Christ

I grew up in a strong Christian home. It wasn’t the kind of “Christian home” that most people know. You know, the kind that looks really good on Sundays, but has it’s worts show up Monday through Saturday? No, we had our worts on Sundays too. We were kind of a little “out there” for some.

Three Parenting Lessons We Can Learn from Duck Dynasty

Over Thanksgiving Break, all 8 of us piled into our van and drove to VA to spend the holiday with my sister and her family. On the way, my wife posted on fb, “ Driving through the mountains and listening to this:

Christian Parenting

One clean, wholesome show that our family actually loves. Honestly, as a parent, I often feel like it’s hard to find clean and wholesome on TV anymore these days. Let alone a show that talks about the Bible and moral values. So when the Duck thing went haywire a little over a week ago and our FB feed was beyond clogged with every post and article out there debating the whole issue, sooooo….conversations had to happen in our household. Conversations that could not be ignored.

My oldest came home from school and checked her Facebook and of course her entire feed was full of the most recent news. Instead of debating the whole topic or wishing she wasn’t on FB, or dismissing it because there are bigger things in this world to get fired up about, we talked. I think when God said in Deuteronomy 6:7, “…Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”…this is what He meant. Walking through life with your kids, alongside them, pointing them and showing them His truth as we live life daily. So there are good life lessons that we didn’t want to miss…

WORDS ARE POWERFUL…CHOOSE THEM WISELY

One of our family values is the “Power of your words and attitude”. “May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord.”…a verse we constantly have to remind each other in our household. In this day and age, with Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Texts, words are abundant, permanent, costly, powerful. You can post something and within seconds it can go viral. Words are like arrows, once you shoot them, you can’t get them back. CHOOSE THEM WISELY. Words can make or break a person. Words can be life giving or life altering. Words are POWERFUL. Matthew 10:16 reminds us that we continually find ourselves in the midst of a culture that will not hold the same beliefs and values as us; therefore, we are NEVER to be “unfiltered” in our message.

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” 

I don’t want my kids to shy away from speaking the Truth, from sharing His Word, or to not stand up for what they believe, which is hard in and of itself to do now days, but I always, always, always want them to weigh each and every word carefully and speak the truth in love.

FAMILY STICKS TOGETHER

In light of everything that happened, I loved the response of the Robertson family. You can read it HERE. I love that even when mistakes happen, family sticks together, prays together, and forgives. I want my kids to know that if and when they make a mistake, we will love, forgive, and move on together as a family even if it is costly and sticks our family in the limelight of the nation.  I love how even as adults, as a family they still honor and respect their patriarch, their Father. It seems to be a lost art these days. Respect is earned, but it is also given. I hope as parents we can live in such a way that our children will desire to respect us no matter how old they are.

EVERYONE MESSES UP

No one is perfect. We all mess up. We all make mistakes. We all do, say, and think things that are not honoring to God. We are all on a journey. We all are in need of forgiveness and redemption found only in Jesus. We are here on this earth for one reason, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

So this week as we are with family and friends and continuing to celebrate Christmas and a New Year- LOVE…LOVE BIG and Speak the truth in Love and leave the rest to Him.

 

 

 

Integrity in the Christian Marriage

Christian Marriage

Have you ever been caught in a lie as a kid? You remember the feeling? That sudden fear of “oh no… I’m busted.” You thought you covered all your bases, but there’s always one left open.

Yesterday our 3 year old was caught in a lie. We asked her, “did you…”

“Nope!”

“Are you sure you didn’t…”

“Nope!”

“Go bring me the…”

“Oh wait, yes I …”

(BUSTED!)

Now, I have to be honest. This was funny. My wife had to look away immediately and I stood up and made sure I gained my composure before I took care of the situation. One thing I’ve learned after raising several 3-year olds now, is that it’s cute when they’re 3, but not when their 13. After spending years now counseling couples in crisis, I can tell you that it’s not cute at 35 either.

So why do we do it? Why is it that some people find the need to lie to their spouse, boss, friends, and family? Well, I could keep it very simple and say something like, “We’re sinful people who do sinful things. It’s just how it works.” Although I believe that to be true, it’s not very helpful though. So instead, here’s three truths that we know, but don’t believe “in the moment.”

 

Three Truths that Feel Like a Lie

 It’s always better to tell the truth 

This is a mantra in our family. We believe it and we practice it. You’ve heard it said, “be sure your sins will find you out…” It’s there in the Bible because it’s true. It’s always better to tell the truth.

Hiding is lying 

Sometimes we convince ourselves that hiding some things is very different than actually lying about it. My mom had a saying while we were growing up that went like this, “Lying is the intention to deceive.” Hiding IS lying. Live a life of consistently hiding things… and you’re living a life of lying.

There’s freedom in living an open life

God doesn’t waist a hurt. He wants to use our ups and downs. This is a truth that only feels good on the other side because many times that “hurts” are our fault. Please don’t misunderstand though, there are always consequences to our actions. Many times these consequences are completely unavoidable. Nonetheless, God specializing in using people who make mistakes.

Help! I’ve been living a lie! How do I come clean?

Well… there’s really no easy way of doing this. You just need to set aside a quiet private moment with the one you’ve offended and talk it out…and remember these four things:

1. You’ve just hurt this person deeply.

2. You’ve broken trust and that is not easily regained.

3. You’ve got a long road ahead to rebuilding this relationship.

…and you shouldn’t do this alone. You need to get some good solid Christian help (probably in the form of counseling)

4. You’re going to be tempted to not tell the whole truth…lie. Please don’t. 2 wrongs never make a right.

Trust is the bedrock of every relationship. Being trustworthy in a christian marriage doesn’t mean you’ll never mess up, but it does mean that you’ll be honest when you do. We’ll talk more later about some ways we can work on rebuilding this trust. Until then remember, “It’s always better to tell the truth”.

 

Slingshots and Lamp Posts : How to Keep Your Little Boy Happy

A few Weeks ago I posted this question on Facebook:

slingshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few days ago I discovered this:

lamppost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was I upset? A little. Was I frustrated at the idea of buying a new lamp? A little. Was I annoyed that my son was shooting his slingshot in the front yard instead of the back yard like he was told? A little.

Was I mad at myself for allowing him to have a slingshot in the first place? NOT AT ALL!

As a matter of fact, if I were completely honest, I was even a little proud at the shot. You see, I would not have giving him the slingshot if I didn’t believe for a minute that he’d end up shooting something he shouldn’t. The thing is – I have a higher value than bubble-wrapping my son and only allowing him to play XBOX in the safety of our basement walls. I value allowing  encouraging him to be outside, in the woods, playing like a boy, using my good tools for building forts, getting poison ivy (which he has right now)… even breaking a few things. One thing I know, my son is getting all the experiences that little boys need to have.

*For those of you who think I’m a terrible parent –

He did have to go to his room for a while.

He did lose his slingshot for a few weeks.

And He will have higher restrictions once he get’s it back.

 

…And no, I’m not concerned whether or not you approve.

 

Allow your children to try new things…even to make mistakes from time to time.

Remember: It’s the small scars they receive that keep them from getting the big ones.

WHat are you doing to keep your “Little Boy” or “Little Girl” happy?

Authoritative Parenting and the “In”Gauge Parenting Model

Have you heard of Authoritarian, Passive and Authoritative? If you’ve taken any Child Development courses… you’ve heard of them. If not, here they are:

The Authoritarian Parenting Style:APS

Noted for being a highly restrictive style in which adults tend to impose many rules. They expect strict obedience and often rely on physical punishment to gain compliance.

The Permissive Parenting Style:

A lax parenting style in which adults make few demands. They encourage their children to express their feelings and rarely use force to gain control over their behavior. Permissive parents do not require mature behavior from their children, but encourage independence instead.

The Authoritative Parenting Style:

A constellation of parenting attributes that include high standards, emotional support, encouragement of bi-directional communication, and consistent enforcement of the rules they establish.