PARENTS: GIVE YOUR KIDS THE GIFT OF TIME

PARENTS: GIVE YOUR KIDS THE GIFT OF TIME ⏰ + 5️⃣ suggested ways…

The Bible teaches us to make wise use of our time (Eph 5:16-17). This is especially applicable when it comes to our kids. It’s been said that to a child, love is spell T-I-M-E.

In today’s world that prizes performance and achievement, kids need time with us when they’re not performing or we’re not lecturing. Time that builds “relational equity.” Time without an agenda other than for them to be listened to, loved and valued.

We can’t afford to get this wrong. 2 Samuel 14 records the sad story of David’s son Absolom turning against him. And while much of the story is complex and especially ugly, it’s a story that we in modern times know all too well. Dad is too distant from his rebellious son, son rebels even worse, and it spirals from there.

Everyone is busy. Time is short. But we can do this.

About 10 years ago I was traveling and serving on a short term mission trip with a pastor named Mike that I really admire. Mike had it all in my opinion. He’d been a D1 athlete in college, earned an MBA, and was successful in the business world prior to being in ministry. He’s a gifted communicator of the Word and at the time we were serving together, he was literally known throughout the world for his heart for God and ability to train pastors. Well, one evening on our trip, after a really long day of serving and training in Romania, I walked by the training area and overheard Mike on an important Skype call…with his kids. And I just paused there for a minute and listened, and learned. He was genuinely interested in the events of their daily life. He was very encouraging, tender and loving. This man had worked a 13 hour day, fighting international time differences and jet lag (I know I was). He could’ve been getting some much needed rest or attending colleagues who’d hang on his every word. But he wasn’t too tired or too important to spend time with his kids. It wasn’t easy, but he gave them his love, energy, and encouragement through his time. Time well spent.

Here’s 5 suggested ways to get relational equity time with kids:

1️⃣ Bed time. Parent kid relationships, especially in the teen years, often include tension. The Bible says don’t let the sun go down on your anger so before bed is a good time to check in. When they’re little you can read to them, Bible stories or something else that engages their little minds. I’m the lamest dad ever 😆 so I have my teen kids turn their phones in at night. That means they can’t go to bed without coming to my room and my night stand. It works! Tell them goodnight. Share something from God’s Word with them. Give ‘em a hug. 📖 🛌 😴 And bedtime is a great time for the 2nd thing…

2️⃣ Pray with them. It doesn’t have to be super articulate or spoken in Old English. Kids don’t like fakes anyway. Just talk to God in front of your kids. Tell God you’re thankful that you get to be their parent. Pray that they make Jesus the main thing. Pray for their protection. Pray they have godly friends and good relationships with teachers, coaches and other people who lead them. I often make it a point to pray for their future spouse and that God would make me a better dad. Whatever’s on your heart, let God and your kids hear it. Kids listen intently to what we pray for them. Time in prayer is always time well spent. 🙏🏼 🙏🏼 🙏🏼

3️⃣ Take note of something they are passionate about that you’re not, and ask them about it often. They’re not the same as us. Notice how they relax as they inform you about an interest of theirs. You’re getting to know them and they’re getting your time. 🧐 📝 🗣 😃

4️⃣ Feed them. Kids of all ages love to eat! And something about a meal together fosters quality relationships. I’m sure it sounds kinda ‘Little House On the Prairie’ but we still try and get our family to the table to eat. There, more times that not, everyone has to share their “high – low”, the best and worst part of their day. I get a pulse for our family each time we get to do that. Even if you don’t get to the table, take them for sonic drink or ice cream or whatever they like. They tend to open up to mom and dad more when they’re enjoying caffeine and calories 😉 🥘 🥤 🍦

5️⃣ Take it outside. Hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, bike rides, taking sunset pictures, playing ball in the yard and many other outdoor activities represent opportunities for relational equity time with kids.

I’ve taken all my kids fishing with me and all enjoy it. I think Phoebe likes the sunflower seeds we chew while fishing better than the fishing, but she’s still glad to go 😆 But with each of them it’s something we do together. Even when my grown kids were teens and we had challenges seeing eye to eye, we still loved fishing together. 🎣 🦌 🥾 🚴‍♀️ 📷 🌅 ⚽️ 🏀 🏈

These are 5 suggestions and there are many, many more. The method isn’t as important as the principle—give your kids the gift of your time. They need it, and so do parents. Life can be rough at times, but no amount of worldly pain can take away the joy of children that we love and they love us.

Use your time wisely.

Final note — the aim of this post is to help others in an area that I have struggled with myself, not to make parents feel guilty. Our model for this is our Heavenly Father who always has time for us and never relates to us on the basis of our performance. No one is perfect as He is. Please don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been through a busy season and haven’t spent as much time with your kids as you’d like. Pray about it, receive God’s grace, and move forward. It’s about direction not perfection. 🎯

#time #parenting #relationalequity

PARENTS: 5 WAYS TO CULTIVATE PEACE FOR YOUR KIDS

PARENTS — LET’S STRIVE TO GIVE OUR KIDS THE GIFT OF PEACE + 5 WAYS TO CULTIVATE PEACE FOR YOUR KIDS

Proverbs 17:1 says “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” That means it is better to live off plain bread and water and live in peace than to eat like a king and live in chaos and conflict.

It’s hard being a kid. Harder than it was for you and I. They need their home to be a shelter from the storms of life, a safe haven of peace. 

You might be thinking, well my house would be a lot more peaceful if it weren’t for these crazy kids. And you might be right. But the adults can set the tone for peace. 

Here’s 5 ways to cultivate peace for your kids:

1. Love your spouse — one of the best things you can give your kids is a good, peaceful relationship with their mom/dad. They sense when things aren’t right between mom and dad. They also sense when mom and dad love each other. Divorced? You can still do all that you can to get along with your ex for the sake of your kids and the glory of God. Romans 12:18 says “if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” This verse definitely applies to seeking peace with our spouse/parent of our kids. 

2. Discipline like a good referee — a good referee makes the rules and boundaries clear. When there’s an infraction, the penalty is assessed and they move on. Our kids are gonna push the limits and mess up. When they do, discipline them appropriately and move on. Holding mistakes over their heads comes from and unforgiving spirit and doesn’t foster peace. Ever. 

3. Drop the sarcasm — Typically parents are better with words than kids. And if we are not careful we can begin to use them as a weapon. What ought to be a simple instance of correction turns into an occasion for condescending sarcasm. I’ve worked with students a long time and heard repeatedly that they don’t appreciate sarcasm. They likely wont be able to articulate how much it bothers them. So it just sits in them and robs them (and your home) of peace.

4. Be a thermostat for peace not a thermometer — a thermostat regulates temperature, a thermometer just measures it. Sometimes we as parents fall into the nasty habit of responding to our kids emotions rather than setting the tone for peace with our own outlook. Take time to pray “Lord make me a vessel of peace to my home.” Then strive to bring the peace. 

5. Be at peace yourself — this is the most important one! We can’t give our kids what we don’t first possess ourselves. Peace within only comes from God. By faith in Jesus Christ we can know the Prince of Peace, live forgiven, and be at peace with God. But that relationship with God has to be cultivated. Stay in his Word. Pray. Worship. Stay in Christ-centered community. These things and others cultivate peace in us and allow us to impart peace to our kids. 

No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace. 

Most parents will do just about anything for their kids, including make sacrifices to buy them anything they need. Peace is something money can’t buy and you can’t put a price tag on the value of a peaceful home for your kids. They don’t need the latest and greatest technology or toys, but they do need a home that is marked by PEACE that comes from God.

🙏🏼 7 GAME DAY PRAYERS FOR PARENTS OF ATHLETES 🙏🏼 🏈 🏐 🏀 ⚾️ 🥎 🏃🏽🏃‍♀️

I once read a bumper sticker that said “as long as there are tests there will always be prayer in schools.” 😂 Very true. But it’s also true that as long as there are sports to be played there will always be parents (dads for sure 😅) praying for wins! Haha. And prayed the right way, with the right heart, there’s nothing wrong with praying that. But our prayers should certainly not be limited to asking for wins.

1Thess 5:16 says “pray without ceasing.” Sports are no exception. Prayer is a way to humble ourselves, honor God, express our needs to Him, and have fellowship with Him. Prayer also gets us in the right mindset and helps us we things through the lens of Christ. We can never pray too much!

As parents of athletes we can make every game day an occasion for prayer.

HERE’S 7 GAME DAY PRAYERS FOR PARENTS OF ATHLETES:

1️⃣Thank God for the gift and stewardship of fatherhood

2️⃣Thank God for the great gift of sports

3️⃣Thank God for giving your child the ability to play and to play on their team

4️⃣Thank God for their coaches for shaping them athletically and as a people

5️⃣Ask God that they play their game in a way that reflects God in every way possible

6️⃣Ask God that your athlete and their team would end the game free from injury, but also free from regret. That they’d play with a great attitude and maximum effort

7️⃣Ask God to give you as a dad/mom a measure of His grace to keep you in the right frame of mind before and after the game.

Pray these 7 things before every game and wrap it all up “in Jesus name, Amen” and game days will never be the same.

As moms and dads we’ll always have a few regrets, because we’re human. But we’ll never regret time we spend in prayer. Maybe especially on game days. 🙌🏼

Dads of athletes — 🏈 🏀 ⚾️ 🏐

**Disclaimer: this is not an area that I’ve been anywhere near perfect. **Disclaimer #2: yes, this can sometimes apply to moms too 😉

Sports represent one of the greatest opportunities that we have as dads. But unfortunately they can also be an area where we blow it. Our kids love us and love sports but if we aren’t careful they can end up resenting us and wanting to quit sports 😢

Ephesians 6:4 says “Fathers, do not exasperate your children” It literally means do not wear your children out 😬Wonder why this command is directed specifically at dads??? 🤔😅 If you’re a dad of an athlete you should definitely know why! Obviously sports is not the only place where this command can be applied, but as dads we have a tendency to lose it a little when it comes to sports. One time after one of my son’s 4th grade basketball games I went on a rant in the car ride home. Somehow I ended up yelling about sacrifice, WW2 and Normandy Beach 😳 …to a 4th grader…over a basketball game. My whole family was just staring at me like I’d lost my mind, and I kinda had! 🤦🏻‍♂️

Avoiding exasperating kids is a constant struggle but a time when we can be especially exasperating is right after games. We want to say something and for most of us saying “hey buddy as long as you had fun who cares what the scoreboard says” 🙄 doesn’t cut it. So what do we do? We need something in between a berating and a participation trophy. 🎯

Here’s 5 postgame tips to avoid exasperating our child athletes:

  1. Tell them you’re proud of them, because you are.
  2. Tell them you love them, because you do.
  3. Give them a hug, because they need it.
  4. Tell them you absolutely love to watch them play.
  5. THEN, if you’ve done these 4 things and you still feel like critique is necessary, try and keep criticisms to the areas of attitude and effort. If their attitude and effort was good, no need for criticism 🤷🏻‍♂️ Here’s why—they already know when they mess up. And their coaches will help them with adjustments. Don’t let your time with them after the game become something they dread.

Dad’s, for the most part your kids want to please you. Your opinion and approval mean so much. Make the most of the opportunity to love, support and help them, not exasperate them.

We’re not gonna really get better at this without a change in our heart. The goal is to relate to our kids the way our Heavenly Father relates to us. He’s patient, loving, but also loves us enough to address our hearts (attitude) when needed. Dads, the closer we get to our Heavenly Father through faith in Christ, the better sports dads we’ll be.

Also, nobody’s perfect on this front. Our kids are kinda raising us too 😆 Give yourself some grace. It’s about direction not perfection. ✊🏼

It’s been 10 years…

It’s been 10 years since my friend and mentor Todd Wortham went home to our Heavenly Father. It was unexpected for us, but not to God.

Todd taught me the Bible but he didn’t just give me truth, he gave me himself. He shared his life. He gave me a picture of how life could be. Todd saw life as an adventure. He modeled living for Jesus Christ and believed God’s Word held real authority. He emphasized being intentional and living passionate with eternity in mind. He believed in grace and the power of God—Todd knew everything about me and still believed God loved me and could use me!

He stood up for what he believed in and he did it the right way. He was a proud Texan and a History buff. He loved the USA and had his grandfathers WWII flight suit on display in a case. He was a Dallas Cowboys fan and an Elvis fan (and impersonator 😂) He loved good music! He also had an eye and appreciation for good art. And anyone who knew Todd knew he LOVED to have fun. Laughing, crying, and then laughing till you’re crying were all commonplace with him.

MAN…I still miss him and think about him a lot more than you’d think!!! So many decisions I make and the direction of my life is because of things God used Todd to teach me. One time he told me to leave a vapor trail of the Holy Spirit’s work behind me wherever I went, he DEFINITELY did that himself.

The necklace I wear was his. He gave it to me on a week long hiking trip in the mountains in Colorado in about 2002. He shared with me that the necklace was a gift from his mother when he was a kid. He explained the story of the ichthus— it was a symbol used by Christians to identify one another during the time of persecution under the Roman Empire. The greek letters stand for Jesus Christ God Son Savior. Todd put the necklace around my neck and said “I want you to wear this with the boldness of Christ.” I can still hear his words and his voice so clear in my head. Today I feel a renewed commitment to that call to boldness as I reflect on Todd.

Today, I’m sad but mostly thankful. What a man! What a life! What a legacy! And what a great God we serve to have made Todd Wortham and blessed me and so many others through his life and example. I’m gonna see Todd again! One more quote from Todd and I’ll quit rambling. He once said in a sermon “I love living for eternal things!!! I have no regrets. None.” …Me too, bro. ME TOO.

I know…

Some act like the sky is falling but I know who hung the stars and named them. Some think their whole world’s coming to an end but I know the God of eternity. Many are paralyzed in fear by what the future holds but I know who holds the future. Times change, God doesn’t. He is faithful.

Regardless of circumstances I’ll be loving my family, teaching them about Jesus, and sharing that Good News with anyone that’ll listen. Till He comes back or I go to Him — “choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15

8 WAYS TO BATTLE PRIDE AND CULTIVATE HUMILITY

Isaiah 66:2 — All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

From Sunday’s Sermon: 8 WAYS TO BATTLE PRIDE AND CULTIVATE HUMILITY + HELPFUL BIBLE REFERENCES

1. See your gifts as God’s gifts. (See James 1:17)

2. Brag on God, not yourself. (See 1Cor 4:7)

3. Read God’s Word (See Psalm 119:105)

4. Say “Lord willing” (See James 4:13-15)

5. Preach the gospel to yourself (See Gal 2:20)

6. Serve others in Christ’s name (See Philippians 2:3-5)

7. Remember that serving, not being served, is how God defines true greatness. (See Mark 10:24-25)

8. Pray (Philippians 4:6)

🚨🏈🙏🏼 THE EVENING BEFORE TWO-A-DAYS: SIX THINGS TO PRAY

Two-a-days for high school football start TOMORROW! My favorite time of year. I’m a big fan of the sport but also love how it brings communities together and all the good things football uniquely affords young men. If you love HS football and love the Lord, consider praying these 6 things, and more.

🙏🏼 God’s glory — We’re all gifted in differently. Football players have the ability to glorify God through the way they play and who they play for. Pray they play for His glory. 🙌🏼

🙏🏼 Relationships — Scripture teaches that we need each other and football can forge friendships like no other. Pray these young men form a team, a bond and a brotherhood. 🤝

🙏🏼 Life lessons — Hard work, sacrifice, selflessness, courage, commitment and the list goes on and on of the values and character building that football can bring. Pray they don’t miss the opportunity to learn things they can apply well beyond the playing field. 📓

🙏🏼 Gospel conversations — Football, especially in small town Texas, brings a whole lot of people together, a lot more than just players and parents. Pray that we make use of our time together to go beyond causal conversations and talk life, the Lord, eternity and Salvation. ✝️

🙏🏼 Coaches — Coaches go above and beyond in every sport, but football season can be especially taxing on coaches and their families. Pray for an extra measure of God’s grace in sustaining them, that families stay unified, and for a healthy balance that affords both the joy of a job well done, and rest when needed. Also, pray they not get worn out by parents and fans, like us 😅

🙏🏼 Safety — It’s a contact sport! Pray for a season free from injury. And especially in these hot months, pray for overall health of everyone involved. 🏥

I’m so ready and I know a lot of y’all are too! It’s gonna be a great season! All glory to Him!

TXHSFB #AG2G

Wednesday Wisdom: Romans 12:18, Matthew 22:39

News and social media look a lot like a really long episode of Jerry Springer minus the big bald dude to separate the crazies 🥴 (#kidsdontknow) But something I’ve observed— the deeply divided, mean-spirited people I often see represented on those outlets are NOT the people I encounter on a daily basis in our communities 🤨 Given the opportunity we get along pretty well!

I’m not saying that differences don’t exist, or that people arent really mad or that it’s all being made up. They sure look genuinely mad to me! 😅 What I’m proposing is that while we stay aware of some deep divisions in our nation we not overlook (and enjoy) some unity and good will among actual people in close proximity around us.

Here’s one of my concerns — that we try to emulate what we see on TV. We see 2 opposite sides depicted. We feel forced or obligated to take a side. THEN, we go looking for our opponent/perceived enemy in the people we know and have had a good civil relationship with up to now, and (at least in our mind) start villainizing them and working against them. The thing about looking for something? You tend to find what you are looking for, even if it wasn’t there.

But let’s assume it is there. Let’s assume that the bad ideology and position you saw presented on the news REALLY is the one held by your neighbor. They’re still your neighbor! We don’t relate to each other like 2 faces on a screen from a news network or 2 blue check marks on Twitter. We can actually talk to one another about differences, exercise patience, share life and think through things together. I’m in NO WAY suggesting we compromise truth or convictions. Stand firm! I’m suggesting we live with each other in a way that allows truth and our convictions to be communicated and received — not like many of the examples we see on TV and in News Feeds.

Hey, y’all know I’ve got a Bible verse for this 😆 Here’s a couple:

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. – Romans 12:18

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39

#WednesdayWisdom