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!


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


Little Wonders

I dropped this young lady off at camp last Saturday and it sure was hard to leave her. I love her so much.

Tell y’all a quick story— when Casey was pregnant with Norah we went in for a sonogram, and in true Layman fashion we took Quinten and Trinity with us. It was a special time and a season of prayer for our then family of 4. Like many couples, we’d gone through some miscarriages and we were really hopeful for this baby girl. As the sonogram was being done on her belly, we were all huddled around Casey and then it happened. We saw little Norah come up on the screen. As we got our first look at our new family member, the song Little Wonders by Rob Thomas was playing on the radio there in the Dr’s office. I vividly remember telling Quinten and Trinity “listen to the words of this song” as it was so appropriate for the occasion. Here’s part of the lyrics

🎵 Our lives are made,

In these small hours

These little wonders

These twists and turns of fate…

Time falls away but these small hours, these little wonders

Still remain🎵

Fast forward to yesterday, on the long drive up to her camp, I was letting Norah DJ. One of the songs she played — Little Wonders 😊 She knows the story. And she knows how much that song means to me because she knows how much SHE means to me.

Today when I dropped her off I gave her a series of hugs and we both teared up just a bit. Two weeks. I’m glad she gets to do things like this. But I’m sure gonna miss her. She’s becoming a young lady but she will always be my Little Wonder.

#DadLife #mygirl #littlewonders

Van Ride Resources

On our van ride back from New Mexico some of the girls were asking me about good books to read and some resources that might be helpful to them for growth in Christ. They asked me to compile a short list so I did. I thought it might be helpful to other students and parents. 

Obviously this list is not exhaustive. Some of these books came up because of specific things we were talking about. And some just because I always recommend them to students. 

If I had to start somewhere I’d have them do the recommended reading of the gospel of John and Proverbs. And for books, I’d have them read ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’ and ‘Crazy Love’ first, or maybe Basic Christianity by John Stott. 

See below. Hope this helps some folks! 

•Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper

•Crazy Love, Francis Chan

•Basic Christianity, John Stott

•A Life Well Lived (Ecclesiastes), Tom Nelson

•Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness (31-Day Devotionals for Life) Megan Hill

•New Mercies, Paul Tripp (daily devotional)

•Passion and Purity, Elibabeth Elliot

•Taking God at His Word, Kevin Deyoung

•The Meaning of Marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller 

•The Reason For God, Tim Keller

•What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? Kevin DeYoung

•Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer

Where do I start reading the Bible?

Start with the gospel of John. Read it slow and as you do, look for, note, and ponder all the I AM statements. Also, note the miracles and encounters with Jesus. They’re not just events. They teach us about him and how we relate to God.

Some of my favs ch’s are 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15. I love the whole book

Also, here’s a simple study guide on John https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/intros/john.cfm

Also, Proverbs is FULL of wisdom for wise godly living. The book has 31 ch’s. Make it a goal to read 1 ch a day for the entire month. 

A sermon everyone should hear about the sovereignty of God, but especially young people who are worried about messing up their life 😅 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MDbKCZodtZI

Growing Up On The Rez

Cool side by side from Navajo Rez VBS. Left is Trinity at age 10 getting VBS crafts ready. Right is her helping lead VBS crafts this year at age 20. She’s standing within just a few feet of the exact same spot. Trinity was 4 and Q was 6 the first time we took a summer VBS trip to the Rez. Phoebe and Norah don’t remember a summer without the Rez and Luka made his first trip last week. Between those summer trips, November trips, and other visits, my kids have done a lot of growing up on the Rez. And in a way, we have too. Like so many things, several years ago we set out to teach but ended up mostly learning. If there’s anything we’ve definitely learned in the last 16 years or so, it’s that we still have A LOT to learn! But here are just a few of the lessons our Navajo brothers and sisters have taught us over the years.

  1. Jesus speaks powerfully through every language
  2. Church is the people not the building (or the revival tent)
  3. Laughter is a universal language
  4. It’s easier to share the gospel when you’re also sharing life
  5. Our creator is way more creative than we give Him credit for
  6. Skin color and cultural differences are no match for Jesus Christ
  7. A different way of doing things isn’t a wrong way
  8. Quiet waters run deep
  9. Simply traveling a long ways is a good way to let someone know you care
  10. Listening, learning, and understanding are an absolute must for all involved in sustainable cross cultural partnerships

Like I said, these are just a few of the many lessons, growth is a glorious part of a journey that I’m so glad we’re still on!

The God Who Sings

The LORD your God…he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

I’ve got a high spirited, temperamental 1 year old little boy. Sometimes he gets so worked up over some hurt he’s feeling and there’s no way he can sooth himself. When that happens about the only way I can calm him is to hold him. And if holding him doesn’t work, I sing to him. Right into his little ear. It’s like he feels love through the singing. It calms him like nothing else can.

When the Bible says that God quiets us by his love with loud singing, I imagine it’s something like what I’m doing with my little man. We’re a temperamental people. Full of hurts and frustrations. We can’t sooth ourselves. By faith in Christ I have access to a singing Father, who picks me up and quiets my anxious heart and mind with his love.

Keep lookin’ up, friends. And rest well. We have a loving God who sings.

Children, obey your parents…

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20
Summertime for many parents means extended time with our kids. Most of us give thought to how to make the most of it. Camps, family vacation, day trips, church trips, time with friends, sports, sports, and more sports 😅. All of those things are great, but it’s imperative that we give thought to the formidable relationship that exists between parents and children, especially in regards to children’s obedience to parents.
Colossians 3:20 teaches that children should obey parents and then immediately gives the reason for keeping the command “this pleases the Lord.” Likewise in Exodus 20:12 when we’re given the 5th Command to “Honor your father and your mother” it’s immediately followed by the reasoning for the command “that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” The biblical basis for the command for children to obey wasn’t a threat of punishment but great benefit for their life to come! If we combine the very similar teachings of Col 3:20 and Ex 20:12 we get something like: “Children, honor and obey your parents. This pleases God and will be great for your future!” Is there anything you want more for your kids than to please God and have a bright future??? 
So how can we as parents apply this? In one sense we can’t 😆 Col 3:20 and Ex 20:12speak directly to children. The Bible assumes enough maturity in a child that they can hear God’s Word and strive to be faithful to it. But while we can’t keep commandments for them, we definitely have a role in cultivating maturity and helping them obey.
Here’s a few ways parents can help kids become more obedient and reap the benefits of pleasing God and having a bright future:
•Share the command from Scripture — the Word of God never returns void! Many times just letting a child hear it or read it for themselves from Bible can help. Make these verses a time of family devotional. Share your own personal experience with them and how you’ve seen this command prove true in your own life and others. Pray with them about it. **don’t go running for your Bible when your upset with them** 😬 Share it in a calm, loving way. 
•Give them opportunities — spend time with kids in environments where they can obey. If we’re spending all our time with our kids watching through a fence on a ball field or from the bleachers in a gym, then going from there to their favorite entertainment venue, then out for frozen yogurt, then they drift off to sleep watching Netflix, we’re not giving them much opportunity for God-pleasing, future-preparing, obedience to parents 😅. Chill out. Go home. Don’t over program. Give them some responsibility. Have dinner at your table. Talk about life. Set some expectations and give them some opportunities to obey. 
•Model obedience — kids are like Doppler radars for hypocrisy. If they witness us not respecting authority and breaking rules, they’ll likely do it to. Obey the laws. Be a model employee. Keep your word. Don’t (ever) go behind the back of your wife or husband and do things that would undermine your relationship and hurt them. Kids see us! They do a lot of what we do! 🥴
•Don’t abuse the command — The command for children to obey is not a license for us to abuse or misuse power. Col 3:21 tells dads not to provoke children to anger, probably because we have a sinful tendency to do that. Resist that. Remember the benefits God gave associated with children obeying — pleasing God and a bright future, not for an easy life for parents.
One more quick thing—Parents none of us are perfect at this. And our kids aren’t either. If everyone did all this naturally there wouldn’t be a command for it! Please don’t be embarrassed when your kids don’t obey or judge others when their kids mess up. Showmanship is especially ugly in parenting. Let’s be in this together. Most of us can agree that we want our kids to please God and have a bright future, so let’s be there for each other and  pray for each other and our kids on this front! 
✊🏼🙏🏼 📖 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 ✝️


Today, like every day, will be a series of encounters with imperfect people who don’t do things to our liking. When that happens we can get angry, frustrated, and feel superior over others, or we can be patient, remember our own flaws, and share a measure of the grace that God so freely gives to us. #choices

We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

For parents of teens, youth leaders, etc.

…a fool is reckless and careless. -Proverbs 14:16

Parents of teens and those who work with high school students know the Spring of year is a fun and exciting time of year for students, especially the closer they get to being seniors. Unfortunately, it can also be a dangerous time. I don’t have statistics to back it up, but it just seems like this time of year, as we get closer to school ending, students are just more likely to be careless with their actions and make choices that can be detrimental to their emotional, physical and spiritual health. If you’ve noticed this pattern yourself and would like to talk to your teen about navigating this season with care and wisdom, I’d like to share a couple of things from my limited experience that might be helpful:

1. Talk to him/her like they are an adult, and share your concerns in a loving, straightforward way. Be diligent not to come across like you think they are so stupid that you have to take the time to talk to them about their dumb choices. Don’t be a grouch. Don’t talk down to them. Maybe start with something like, “hey I love you very much and I want you to have a good time, but more than that I want you to be safe and keep your head on straight. I wouldn’t be talking to you about it if I didn’t think you were capable of hearing it.”

2. Don’t try to be cool. Sometimes during this season parents/leaders realize that time with their young person at home is short and then tend to get lax on wise parameters. Don’t do that. If you have set high standards for your kids, keep them. Resist the temptation to say things like “I know there will probably be drinking, I hope you will stay put when you drink and know when you’ve had too much” 🙄 — There are good reasons lawmakers who don’t even know your kids or care nearly as much about them have put laws in the place to try and prevent them from consuming alcohol until the age of 21. Encourage them to obey the law, encourage them to drive the speed limit, tell them to have fun while being responsible. If they choose to break laws or act foolishly don’t let it be because you encouraged them to by trying to score points as a cool mom, dad, or leader. And newsflash? You aren’t cool 😆 For the most part, your time has passed on all that ha ha. I’m right there with you. 👴🏻

3. Don’t be unnecessarily overbearing. I hope this doesn’t sound like a contradiction to my last statement, but this is not the time to put the screws on them either. They are getting older and wanting more freedom is a natural thing! If you get a sense that they are on a trajectory towards responsibility and doing the right things then give them some room to breathe, stay out later, go more places, etc. Say yes when you can! Middle schoolers dislike the feeling of a helicopter parent. Highschoolers? Tend to hate it. 😅

4. Remind them of their priorities. This is so important! If your student is a self proclaiming follower of Jesus Christ, remind them that everything that they do is to be done for the glory of God. And if they can’t glorify God in doing it, don’t do it. If they want to get into a good college and have a career in mind, remind them that their actions today can prevent them from achieving big goals tomorrow. We underestimate teenagers when we think that they can’t hear those kinds of things. They are more forward thinking then we give them credit for. Sometimes they just need a reminder, like all of us do.

I assure you I haven’t been perfect on all of this. Some of this advice comes from “woulda coulda shouldas” that I have looking back. I hope you find them helpful. Also, chances are if you’re still reading this, you love teens and want what’s best for them. For that I want to thank you, commend you, and ask that you join in me in praying for them. They’ve got it tougher than we realize and need all the prayer and encouragement they can get.