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Three Things Kids Need to See In Their Parents

Old Family PhotoWe sometimes think that raising kids well is all about what we tell them. But what is even more important is what we show them. And if you want to do the best you can for the next generation’s sake, you’ll model at least these three traits in your home.

Security and Stability

Kids need to know that they’re safe, their basic needs are going to be provided for, and that they will be free to grow up in a stable environment. Selfishness often causes us to fight dirty, abandon, or neglect our spouse. Kids need to know that home is the safest place on the planet – the place to which we flee from a threatening world.

Oneness and Intimacy

Beyond merely keeping kids safe and letting them know that we’re stable in our marriage and as a family, we also need to go deep with each other. Getting up close and personal so that you know and are deeply known by your spouse really matters. It isn’t that Mom and Dad need to get along all the time perfectly or have it altogether, but that even when there is conflict, there is also love and commitment.

The Gospel!

Kids not only need to hear the story of Jesus from beginning to end – they also need to see a living picture of the effect and the nature of the gospel. And with the gospel, truth is truth even when it’s painful. God’s expectations aren’t lowered or compromised. But the other half of the gospel is the redemption offered to us when we’ve failed to follow the rules. Legalism and perfectionism show our kids a false or shallow gospel, and so does permissiveness. In between is the balance of truth and grace and the good news of redemption for all of us who have messed up… and that’s all of us.

What else do kids need to learn from us?

My Hometown: Bowling Green, Kentucky

My friend, Cory, sent me this very cool YouTube video of a guy singing about my hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. I recognize every spot you see. Totally cool!

And comments are open!

Start Your Family Well (What To Pray Over Your New Home)

Last night I had a pretty neat experience. A couple who have recently married and begun their new life together asked me to come and bless their home, something I’ve never been asked to do in almost 14 years of ministry. The short version – we talked about Jesus and prayed over their family’s future. The long version…

They showed me around each room and then we talked for a while about some friends of theirs whom they are praying for over various needs. Then we talked about the importance of dedicating our homes to God as houses of worship. As I prayed, I asked God for certain things to happen in this particular home, and it occurred to me that not only is this a great way to begin a family life together, but that it also reveals certain great principles about being a “Christian home.” Here are some prayer considerations…

  • May God bless this family with joy.
  • May there be laughter, joy, and fun in this home.
  • May this home be a refuge from the world – a safe haven, and a heaven on earth.
  • May all who enter here feel the presence of God.
  • May this home be a place of safety and security – may God protect it.
  • May this home be used for ministry to others.
  • May this home be filled with peace as a respite from the world’s turmoil.
  • May this home be a house of worship, an altar of prayer, and a place of discipleship.
  • May Christ always be the most honored guest.
  • May this home reflect God’s ideal for family leadership.
  • May this home be a lighthouse in this neighborhood – a witness to the lost all around.
  • May this home reflect righteousness in this and the the next generation.
  • May all children born here find a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • May the marriage built here be a reflection of Christ’s love for His bride – His church.

I’m sure there are others – feel free to share your own in the comments. The experience has been a reminder that I’m the prayer leader of my home, responsible for praying for my wife and daughter (and right now, for more children) continually.

By the way, have you "liked" Grace Hills Church on Facebook yet?

The Association of Baptist Students

Cory and I had a nice treat today in visiting with the directors of the Association of Baptist Students at the University of Arkansas. After touring the property, I was impressed with their ability to squeeze so much out of so little. Rather than a state-of-the-art facility, they were “making do” with three older houses, all in need of some repairs. I appreciated so much hearing the hearts of Director Warren Dugas and Associate Director Brad Harris.

Is collegiate ministry “missions?” I believe, absolutely! Let me tell you three reasons why: 1.) College students are a little nuts! When they’re fired up, they’ll charge into the most dangerous countries in the world for the greatest cause on earth… and they’ll raise money to do so. 2.) There are so many places that college students can connect with others who will pull them away from Christ that we have to offer them a ring of friends who will help them remain true to the faith. 3.) One of the greatest missions opportunities that exists today is the reaching of international students from closed nations that are studying in the states. We can reach them, disciple them, and then send them home as missionaries to their own country!

We must soon realize that America is one of the world’s greatest mission fields and college campuses are the central focal point in a cultural war that is being waged every day. You don’t have to worry much about liberalism creeping into your local church, but college students endure an onslaught of insulting propaganda concerning their faith everyday. I know, I suffered it once myself as a Religious Studies major at a state university.

I, for one, will begin standing beside this invaluable ministry. I’ll speak up on their behalf, attempt to raise money, and get involved when and where I can. If one of my fellow brethren from a sister church should happen upon these thoughts, I’d encourage you to do the same. Visit the campus, visit the ABS house, and hear the hearts of its leaders. Students are worth it! You can start be checking out their website here.

As American As…

Last night, I saw the inside of the new Busch Stadium as we watched the Los Angeles Angels topple the Cardinals 10 – 6. We did, however, get to see three Cardinals homeruns, including one by Sir Albert! It really is true that there isn’t a poor view in the park. We were in the third tier over the third base dugout, but we could see the game very well and our view of the St. Louis skyline was breathtaking!

My love for baseball has waned in recent years, and attending this game both helped and hurt. On the one hand, I’m terribly annoyed at the price of seeing a game for the average family. If you have the average 2.5 kids, you can expect to drop at least a hundred bucks for the tickets, and possibly another hundred for food, souvenirs, and some of the family activities available. It’s no wonder people are cynical about the salaries of players and the bankrolls of owners.

Nonetheless, on the field, it’s still the old game it used to be. There’s still something a bit magical about the bright green, perfectly manicured grass, the larger-than-life image of the players, and the thrill of watching a homerun fall into the stands. Plus, you can’t beat a stadium hot dog (though the price of $5.75 is a bit much)!

If I could sum up what it’s all about (the game, the parks, the players), I’d have to say… advertising! From an hour before the game until the last pitch was thrown, there were special promotions and activities on the screen, “sponsored by…” There are digital scrolling billboards throughout. The scenery is plastered with the names of big businesses such as banks, stock brokerages, and restaurant chains. The stadium included a Hardee’s, Big Mac land (a McDonald’s promotion), and even a Build-A-Bear workshop tailored especially to the St. Louis Cardinals fan base!

At the end of the day, I’d summarize my experience as absolutely awesome! The skies were clear with a temperature of 65 and a slight breeze blowing. The hot dog was juicy, yet crusty. The view was great, and even riding the Metrolink was a neat experience. Would I do it very often? Everyday!!