Category Archives: Family

FAMILY WEEK: “Men, 10 Signs You Married a Grown-up Child” Devo 3-31-11

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 11   4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails…. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me…

I received a lot of feedback from men yesterday about the post “10 Signs You Married a Grown-Up Child”. It was written to women as they examine the relationship they have with their husbands. While I believe wholeheartedly that MEN ARE THE ONES WHO SHOULD TAKE THE LEAD IN MARRIAGE through sacrificial servant leadership, some men married women who seem completely grown up on the outside but on the inside are selfish, self absorbed and demandinglike a child….

Here are 10 ways to spot them ….

  1. She talks down to her husband (v 5)  “Love is not proud?”
  2. She talks to others about her husband (negatively) – ditto
  3. She is obsessed with how she looks to others (v 5) – “Love is not self seeking?”
  4. She keeps secrets but insists he share his. – (v 6) “Love always trusts?”
  5. She withholds “affection” as a means of getting her way. (v 6)  “Love is not easily angered?”
  6. She “pouts” when she does not get her way. (v 11) – “she still acts like a child?”
  7. While He thinks “pornography” is a no-harm-no-foul sin.SHE thinks that a diet of romance novels, fashion mags and materialism is fine. (v 6) “Love does not delight in evil…?”
  8. She loves her kids more than her husband … and herself more than her kids.  (v 5) “Love is not self seeking?”
  9. She holds a grudge against her husband and even her kids for how “under-appreciated” she is. (v 5) “Love keeps no record of wrongs?”
  10. She “protects the picture”. In other words, “all Hell may be breaking loose” at home but she makes sure everyone looks good, acts good and smells good in PUBLIC/CHURCH.  – that, by the way, teaches her family to pretend and fake their faith. The point is to BE good at home and not FAKE being good at home. (v 6) Love rejoiced in the truth?”

Verse 11 tells men (and women) to put away childish things and embrace the previous verses. Our wives must love us with patience (and man do we need it), gentleness, protection (emotionally), forgiveness (let us back in), truth, humility, trust, hope, etc…

Behind every mediocre man is a childish girl who demands her way.



I believe 1 Corinthians 13 tells you how to make sure that it happens.


FAMILY WEEK: “The Filter of ME” Devo 3/28/11

This week I am trying to wrap my “brain” around what the Bible says about the kind of love I am to show to my wife and kids. This morning I’m looking at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 which describe the kind of love I am to have for them and (opinion) the kind of love God has for us…

I Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud5 It doesnot dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, alwaysperseveres. 8Love never fails.

One of the great blessings I was given as a kid was that my father modeled these verses. Though, to my knowledge, he was not a Christian and probably never read these verses, he displayed a lot of the “Christian qualities” layed out in them. He was loving, gentle, strong, patient, giving, fierce, forgave easily and more.

Because of his life and example, when God began to draw me to Himself (8th grade), it was easy to embrace a Heavenly Father that loved me and sacrificed for me….cuz I already saw it in Dad!

It is a sobering thought to know that my kids will see God through the “FILTER OF ME”. I am setting the stage for their embracing or their rejection of Jesus…YIKES!

A QUESTION WORTH ASKING:  Will my kids easily embrace Jesus because they have seen him in me?

How bout YOU?


FAMILY WEEK: “But Have Not Love” Devo 3/28/11

“The Love Chapter” is a staple in most Christian weddings. You know the one, “…love is patient, love is kind…” The blushing bride and the anxious groom listen as the minister exhorts the virtues of love the way “God intended”. After the quick ‘smooch and reception”, off they go into marital bliss, never to visit these verses again.

It is a shame because the LOVE CHAPTER was not written to be used exclusively for weddings. It was written to believers as “the most excellent way”(1 Cor. 12:31) to live a life for Jesus. It was written for anyone who wants to live as Jesus lived.

Today we look at verses 1 Cor.13:1-3. “If I speak in the tonguesa of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing.

Then, as today, many Christians want the “cool gifts”. Who wouldn’t want to the gift of prophecy, wisdom, knowledge or faith? Nothing wrong with giving your stuff away or in essence being a martyr… BUT all of that is NOTHING if it is done without LOVE!

  • You mean my tithe means nothing unless I love?
  • You mean giving that guy a ride means nothing without love?
  • You mean paying for that kid to go to camp means nothing without love?
  • You mean that mission trip means nothing without love?
  • You mean serving at Faith Mission means nothing without love?
  • You mean providing for my family means nothing without love?
  • You mean teaching LIFE group means nothing without love?
  • You mean……yes that is what I mean already!


  • If I speak in tongues of men and angels and HAVE love…..
  • If I have the gift of prophecy and HAVE love….
  • If I can fathom all mysteries and HAVE love
  • If I have faith that can move a mountain and HAVE love
  • If I give away all my possessions to the poor and HAVE love
  • THEN you are living the way GOD intended and (opinion) God will absolutely bless you efforts in those areas.

This week we will look at 1 Corinthians 13 in some detail. I am convinced that if a Christian takes these verses and applies them to his life he will see his family, business, church and personal life dramatically change for the better.


“A Father’s Love” Devo for 3-17-11

Rick Hoyt was born in 1962 to Dick and Judy Hoyt. As a result of oxygen deprivation to Rick’s brain at the time of his birth, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Dick and Judy were advised to institutionalize Rick because there was no chance of him recovering, and little hope for Rick to live a “normal” life. Dick and Judy soon realized that though Rick couldn’t walk or speak; he was quite astute and his eyes would follow them around the room…. In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” That was all his father needed…now they have over 1,000 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being Ironman competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days.

Rick was once asked, if he could give his father one thing, what would it be? Rick responded, “The thing I’d most like is for my dad to sit in the chair and I would push him for once.”

Watch the video here

Elite Athletes like Dick Hoyt understand something that many of us with a few “too many pounds and a day job” have forgotten. That is this: In order to gain what we ultimately want we must change the way we look at pain, inconvenience, setbacks and challenges.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


The amount of sacrifice and struggle and trials that the Hoyts have gone through is really inspirational. He seems to GET what we sometimes forget. THAT in the CHRISTIANS LIFE….

  1. DISCIPLINE IS HARD BUT REWARDING.Just ask anyone who has lost weight, made the team, gotten the job, raised good kids, paid off the house etc…..  –  Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
  3. WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE QUESTIONS WE ASK. Instead of asking…is this going to make me happy? Ask is this beneficial for my faith? Does it draw me closer to the Lord?
  4. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT Grief, Trials and Tests are the way God conforms us to the image of Jesus. (Romans 8:28)

The “ONE THING” for Marriage Devo 3-16-11

Most of us remember the movie City Slickers. It is a great movie about some restless middle age guys from the city who find themselves on a cattle drive in the great Southwest. The defining moment in the movie plays out between Curly (the old cowboy/sage) and Mitch (the lovable bumbling “city slicker”) After Mitch complains about his marriage and life in general, Curly asks the question… Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger] Curly: This. Mitch: Your finger? Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean anything* (edit). Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?” Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out. WELL, at the risk of sounding like a simpleton…here…I believe…it is that “ONE THING”: Drumroll please……. (wait for it…..) A HUSBAND SHOULD “SET HIS WIFE APART”! HUH? That’s it? Yep…THAT’S IT! I am convinced that the key to a good marriage starts with the HUSBAND SETTING HIS WIFE APART as UNIQUE AMONG EVERY OTHER WOMAN ON THE PLANET! Practical ways to “set her apart”…

  1. “Be NICER, more patient, and more thoughtful of towards your wife than you are to your secretary!” Don’ t laugh…I have watched men shower their secretary with praise and their wives with critique. It is ridiculous but common.
  2. Never compare your wife UNFAVORABLY to anyone else….EVER! Even if she says she “doesn’t mind” or she insists it is “ok”. By the way, every time you say that another woman is pretty, sexy or hot…(even in jest) you are “killing” your wife.
  3. Never speak a harsh word TO your wife in public…ever! It destroys trust, security and will build resentment towards you. You become the enemy.
  4. No one else is your wife……. so don’t treat anyone with the same deference or emotional closeness that you give your wife. She should be the one you talk to. She does not understand you… make her understand.
  5. Study your wife…what are the things that are important to her? What are her dreams? Do you know?
Eph 5:25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

“Marriage Verses” Don’t Help You “Hit the Curveballs” Devo 2-23-11

When Micheal Jordan quit basketball (the first time) in 1994 to try his hand at Major League Baseball he was the talk of every sports writer in the country. He was considered by many to be the “greatest basketball player who ever lived” (an opinion I happen to agree with).  And yet when the Chicago White Sox signed him and sent him to their Minor League farm team (Birmingham Barons) Micheal struggled.

It was apparent that Micheal Jordan could not hit the curveball… (at least he could not do it very often). He was great with fastballs because he had quick hands…but there was something about the curveball that got him. It turns out that the pitchers throwing pitches that “broke more severely” than anything he had seen before. Even when he knew it was coming he had trouble “making contact”.

He lasted from  February 7, 1994  March 10, 1995  (13 months and three days)

Sadly many marriages last about that long… simply because they “can’t hit the curveball”.

Marriage is full of “curveballs”

  • Your husband does not know how to lead you like you like to be led
  • Mother in law who pulls you into loyalty battles etc…
  • Loss of job and complete change in career
  • Babies on the way that were not planned
  • Finding out your spouse secret sin that almost ruins marriage.
  • Parents dying
  • Sickness
  • Financial trouble
  • Pain and heart ache that were unexpected.

THE POINT :  We often go to the “marriage verses” in scripture to help us during these time but I would argue that Genesis 2/Ephesians 5/I Corinthians 13 do not “get you through” when your marriage is really struggling…. before you stone me for point is that there is NO SUCH THING as MARRIAGE VERSES because EVERY VERSE in Scripture is a “marriage verse”.   1Cor 10:13  is a marriage verse, so is John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 John 1:9,  Deuteronomy 11:1, 2 Timothy 2:3 “Suffer hardships with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” is a marriage verse! (no kidding!) Psalm 31:6 and so on.

The only way we are going to “hit the curveballs” that come our way in marriage is to cling to ALL OF SCRIPTURE and not just the “Marriage Verses”


Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Devotional Thoughts, Family


IDOL WORSHIP…with a “little rant” tossed in. Devo 2-10-11

Different Look... Same Idea.

I have been walking some guys through different aspects of worship and landed on a real hot button this morning…”IDOL WORSHIP”.

Back when the words of scripture were written, idols were easy to recognized. They ranged from small statuettes to enormous buildings.  Whatever form they took it was clear that these things were to be made a priority. We see Paul address the idols scattered around Athens (Acts 17:16-34). Idol worship was so prevalent that he even points out the (“catch all”) idol that was designated to an “unknown God”. (17:23)

Scripture is clear that we are not to worship idols but the living God. But before we console ourselves that we are “idol free” (not many statues to an “unknown God” around here) we must consider that an idol is anything we place in our lives that is a higher priority than God.

Our IDOL to MONEY may look a lot like a HOUSE we overextended ourselves to buy to the exclusion of our giving.

Our IDOL to SUCCESS might look like job we have to compromise our convictions in order to thrive.

Our IDOL to SEX may not be the Temple prostitute but a computer screen, movie channels or a monster TV

Our IDOL to our KIDS might be that we are routinely away at sporting events on Sunday cause little Johnny really likes to play his sport … that takes us and them away from “regularly meeting together as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25). Then when they are 17 and Mom and Dad try to “fix em” before they leave for college… the kid gets “twisted off” cuz they “never used to go” but now that they have made a few bad choices Mom and Dad are “freaking out” and telling them they have to go to church… they are also telling the youth minister to “FIX MY KID” … but he can’t “FIX EM” because Mom and Dad have never even remotely modelled God or church as a PRIORITY but only as something to attend when CONVENIENT … and when they finally realize that their child has no interest in God… then it is the CHURCH’S FAULT  because “our child does not like it there and that staff likes the kids from the other schools more than the kids from our school”…. when in reality the kid never had a chance and simply showed the exact same indifference towards God that his parents show. “But hey, what are ya gonna do?…Johnny loves soccer!” … … … well, the kid may have no interest in the things of God and BEHAVE like a “TOTAL SCREW UP” but HEY…… HE CAN KICK A SOCCER BALL! sheesh …  I’m ok now)

It may be money, sex, esteem or ANYTHING  that is more important to us than the Lord. An idol is typically something good that Satan has twisted: A job is a good thing but being a workaholic is not. Kids are great,”a blessing from the Lord” but they are NOT more important than your spouse…your God. WHAT WE ARE BLESSED WITH OFTEN BECOMES THE VERY THINGS THAT TURNS OUR HEARTS AWAY FROM GOD.

  • Are you financially blessed?————–Has it affected your hunger for God?
  • Is your family doing well?—————–Do you still strive for God?
  • Are your relationships thriving?  ——–Do you still honor Him in those relationships?
  • Is your church blessed? ——————-Do we remain in complete submission to the Lord?


Worship is a matter of covenant-keeping.

All who hold fast His covenant will worship (Is 56:6-7), and worshiping other gods is covenant-breaking, for which God brings judgment (2 Kings 17:38, 2 Chron 7:22, 24:18). God repeatedly warned His people against the idolatry of worshiping other gods (Exo. 20:5, Josh 24:14, Acts 17:23). Jesus received worship on many occasions (Mat  28:9,16-17, Luke 24:52, John 9:38). He said, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Mat 4:10).   – Sylvia Gunther  2010

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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Discipleship, Family, Leadership


Spontaneous Worship…Gotta Have it! Devo 2-8-11

I never tire of seeing this video….   

The most impactful thing about this scene is NOT THAT the FATHER picked up his son…everyone expects that!

It is the MOMENT the SON sees his DAD!  I bet he did not even remember getting out of his chair… or running across the room… it probably even took him a while to realize he was sobbing.  But I guarantee he was aware of what was going on the INSTANT his dad picked him up! 

The son only knew he wanted to be held by his father. He was so focused on his dad that he did not care who saw him run, sob or jump into his dad’s arms…….  


Worship: because you want to be with the Father

 “Worship can’t help overflowing from a passionate heart. Real worship is grounded in truth but involves deeply felt emotion. Intense longing for the nearness of God will express itself irrepressibly in worship.”   “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!” (Ps 65:4).   

Sylivia Gunther 2011


Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Discipleship, Family, Leadership



If a student knows the Lord and goes to a public (or even a private) High School then the following is probably true: They will be under tremendous pressure to conform to the image of the crowd. That crowd typically does not value a passionate relationship with Jesus…(duh!)  Any High School will likely have it’s share of good kids, promiscuous kids, angry kids, drunk kids, church kids, gang members, druggies, jocks, musicians etc…. most of whom will pressure each other to “conform” to whatever “image” they see fit.

MY POINT: If we can get our teens to “make friends with loneliness” instead of fear it, they will be much more able to resist the pressure to “conform” to the image of the school they attend and more likely to conform to the image of our Lord. (Romans 8:29, 12:2)

Helping our children (17, 15, 11) “make friends with loneliness” has become one of the guiding principle in our parenting. Not because we want our kids to be “loners” or that we want them to lack the social skills needed to find and maintain healthy relationships…I simply mean that they (and we) must get to a point where the fear of loneliness does not have a grip on them. Every bad decision I remember making, and many I don’t, was driven by the need to “be accepted”. The opposite (in my mind) of acceptance is loneliness. (or maybe better said the result of not being accepted is often loneliness)

SO HOW? I’m glad you asked:

  1. Help em see that it is PART OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH to be alone. I know many kids (adults too) that feel slighted and forgotten by God because they have listened to some  “knuckle-headed, health/wealth” preacher who promised that God is here for our comfort. So if we are “uncomfortable” (lonely) then we must not be in God’s will. Nothing could be further from the truth. (2 Timothy 4:9-10, Phil.3:8)
  2. Help em EXPECT IT! When we stand for anything we alienate a certain group of people. It can be an innocuous as choosing a favorite sports team. Somebody will not be happy and you may actually end up with a strained relationship. (I speak as a Yankee Fan with some experience in this area) or as serious as standing for your faith when no one else does. If you do not follow the crowd you will very likely experience times when you are lonely.
  3. Help em see that GOD OFTEN WORKS MOST FREELY in our lives when we are lonely! He has our attention when we are hurting. He will also change our need for others into a desire for Himself. When we realize the reality of an all-sufficient God and the closeness we can have with Him.
  4. GIVE EM A PLACE TO COME HOME TO where they are not alone. I mean make your home a place where they can be with you. If you are like us things are “crazy busy”. Especially when our kids hit the teenage years we were all going in different directions! I am haunted by my son’s words after what was a rare dinner all together…”I really like it when we are all together”. Later when I tucked him in I asked him about it. He said…” yea, I just don’t feel as alone when we are all together”.  OUCH!
  5. TAKE ABOUT IT… A LOT … Empathize, console and encourage your teenager if they are lonely but assure them that they are not alone!

TEN PARENTING PRINCIPLES (I wish I always practiced) shortened

The Franks

Margie, Sarah-Clare, me, Sydney, Grayson and Sophie

Several years ago, when our kids were small, Margie and I sat down and came up with what would eventually become our guiding principles for raising our kids and developing a sense of family in our home. These are ten of those principles that have been a huge help to us…. maybe they would benefit you and your family as well… ENJOY!

1. Copywrite  (Oops!  sorry)

2. CORRECTION versus CRITICISM “Death Spiral” – Like most people, when a teenager is wounded they will wound someone else. They will look for a way to get back at the offender (parent). That creates a stiffening of the relationship and a sparring with my teen.

  • Jeremiah 10: 24:Correct me, Lord, but only with justice— not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.
  • James 2: 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to knowledge of the truth,

3. CONTROL.  No one likes to be controlled. Including teens. My kids don’t like friends who do it, they run from teachers who do it and they rebel against us when we do it. That puts us in a tough spot. We want to lead with freedom not control. Good behavior gets freedom, poor behavior gets confinement.

4. MAKE YOUR HOME “BASE”. a home needs to be a “safe Base” for teenagers.  Safe emotionally, physically and spiritually.   A Sanctuary – I have spoken/written on this a lot. The world is putting our kids into a vice and squeezing them. Any teenager that wants to “walk with the Lord” is going to have to resist a lot of pressure. But like any of us, they cannot resist 24/7!  They need a place where they can be free from pressure, undeserved criticism and sarcasm. Your home should be a “sanctuary”.

5.”WIN THEIR HEARTS AND THEIR BEHAVIOR WILL (usually) FOLLOW – While I know that we are our kid’s parents first and their friend 2nd, (especially when they are young), somewhere in their early teens a very cool things takes place: You get to talk to them like a real live person! A dialogue instead of monologue. Actually sharing ideas instead of solely instructing. It may happen once and then not again for a while…but then it happens again. Before you know it you are having validating, important life changing discussions with an intelligent viable teenager….almost like a friendship!

6. NOT ALL “TIME” IS THE SAME “TIME” ….. some time is “instructional”(learning opportunities), some time is relaxing (Elvis movies with friends), some time is correctional (“hun, you really have a blind-spot here and I want to help you through it”) and some time is relational (“What is God doing in your Life? Can you see it?”, “What boys/girls do you like?”, “Tell me about your friends”, “What are you praying about these days?”

7. “TALK” WHEN THEY WANT TO “TALK” – scheduling time to talk is very difficult. It can feel forced and canned etc…. but God seems to bring our kids around to a time when they want to share stuff with us. When they want to…. “drop everything”.

8. MY KIDS WILL “LOOK LIKE ME” IN WAYS I DONT INTEND. They will become who I am in every area of life. Mannerisms, sarcasm, anger, humility, pride, devotion to the Lord,  etc….   Jerry and Mary Royal say it best: “They will follow WHO I AM before they follow WHAT I SAY”.

9. TRY TO GET TO KNOW “THEIR WORLD” – Most teens in my kid’s world have cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, IMing, text messaging, Skyping, ….. blah blah blah. I won’t fight it because it is just a “hill I refuse to die on” and I’d rather help em manage it with me than learn without me. (I had a phone… a land line…that I hated talking on…I’m a guy)

10. NEVER “PROTECT THE PICTURE”–  I have watched families(probably been that family), especially folks who are in church (who feel some misplaced pressure to look and act a certain way), do all they can to “protect” the happy images represented in the pictures that hang on their walls…… while their family implodes.  After the damage has been done most say they were too embarrassed to seek help….

The problems associated with deceitfulness, control, anger, lust, apathy, abuse, money, depression, suspicion, mismanagement, hypocrisy, fear, idols etc……When the family becomes a dumping ground for these issues and all members are expected to ignore, cover up and act like the “pretty family” in the pictures…it causes immeasurable harm in the following ways…

  1. teaches the kids to prioritize what others think vs. what God thinks. (Prov 29:25)
  2. trains family members to be  (even bigger) hypocrites. (Matt 6:16)
  3. “hard wires” family members, who may want to “walk authentically” with God, to hide their sin from Him. (Psalm 32:5)
  4. builds resentment and distance between each other and those who want to get close to them. (kids future spouses)  (Job 5:2)
  5. places mother and father is the positions of “chief liars” not Godly leaders. (Prov 19:22)
  6. weaves the problems into the fabric of our homes and breed dysfunction as a way of life. (Hebrews 12:1)
  7. developes a “mini-culture” of secret-sin that become almost a family treasure.


Men: Deal with your own junk before you fix your family. How can you lead your family if you can’t lead yourself? Get real.

Women: Don’t worry as much about what others think. Do they really care about your family…. or how they rank next to your family?

Both: Love Jesus…. yea, I know, but it will radically change your family