Category Archives: Family


A friend of mine, who has younger children, asked how we approached our kids when teaching them about sex. What resources did we use? What did we say? When did we say it? The following is a result of that conversation. Like most of us, Margie and I try to  live by certain principles (biblical and intuitive) rather than an exhaustive list of situational rules and verbiage. In that vein, here are 9 Principles we use when talking to our three kids about sex.


Margie grew up the church, I did not. We gave our lives to Christ as teenagers and were virgins when we married (not bragging or confessing, we just were) Frankly, we were a little “freaked out” our first few months of marriage.  “How can a 30 minutes ceremony move a person from no, no, no, to yes, yes, yes”?  (that is a post for another day)

The point is that we all have baggage when it comes to sex. Some of us bring a past that may have abuse, promiscuity, secrecy, pornography, ignorance, trauma, deceit, heartbreak etc….. All of those things taint our view of sex inside our marriage.

Because of these issues many Christians have a weird approach to sex. It is almost as if they have to enjoy the sexual relationship with their spouse as a form of rebellion against God. In fact many Christian couples adopt a “celibate marriage” mindset. You know… the idea that a husband and a wife will have sex (very infrequently) but…won’t talk about it, act like it was no fun (ladies) and even worse that it was dishonoring to God. (men)

However, Scripture paints a much different story about sex inside the marriage covenant:

  • God created sex. Duh!  Genesis
  • God wants you to have sex with your spouse…and lots of it. (I Cor. 7:5) …can I get an AMEN!
  • Sex binds a couple together more than anything (prayer, suffering, etc) because  that is what it is designed to do!  (”two become one”)
  • Sex is explosive! (ha, ha…but seriously)  Like dynamite that can “move mountains”… Sex, in the right situation (marriage, trusting, faithful, and safe), effectively creates a bond that allows a couple to overcome obstacles and strengthens a marriage like nothing else. But also, like dynamite… Sex, in the wrong situation (affairs, one night stands, friends w/ benefits etc) …will destroy you. (spiritually, emotionally and in some cases physically)


It is biblical that the husband and the wife “leave and cleave” and that the “two become one flesh”. That is not a mandate to have sex once to get it “out-of-the-way” and then move ahead with the deeper, more spiritual things in life. (Gen 2:23, Mark 10:5, Eph. 5:25-29) It is a way of life. The couple should cleave to one another physically for a lifetime.   I believe that one of the most spiritual things a man can do for his wife is to pursue her with great respect, tenderness, honor and passion. Thankfully my wife believes that too!  Aaaaaaw-yeaaa!  (yea I know I’m grossing out my teenage daughters)


(just don’t tell them the whole truth all at once).

Several years ago, I sat with my son (probably 5 or 6 at the time) in the drive-thru McDonald’s.  We sat facing a billboard which said, “Talk to your Kids about Sex” along with the picture of a teenager mother and her (presumably) child.  Sure enough, my son sounded out the words and asked, “Dad, what is sex”?  After panicking… I had a moment of sheer brilliance that inspires me even to this day!  I explained to him that “sex” referred to being a boy or girl, male or female, man or woman…”you and I are boys, THAT is our sex!”

“Ooooh” my son replied, and went about his thoughts unfazed.

“Dodged a bullet”, I thought to myself (we did not go back to that particular McDonald’s till the billboard was replaced).

The point: be appropriate with your response to your kids.  My five-year old really was not interested in the “birds and the bees”. He just was parroting the billboard.


Most folks I know hate being around people who do nothing but lecture them about how to live. It makes them feel like they have nothing to offer or worse that their opinions really don’t count. So it is with talking to your kids. If the only interaction you have is instructing them on the right way to _____________ (whatever)  it will cultivate that same feeling of dislike we have for the “lecturers” in our own lives. (obviously, age appropriateness is key, please don’t get into a discussion with your 4-year-old about whether or not they should hit another kid…just tell em)

If you will actually let them talk then when they are older, they will come to you because they get a chance to share what is on their hearts without fear that it will turn into a lecture (of which I am guilty of more times that I will admit).

PRINCIPLE  #5 MAKE SURE YOUR KIDS KNOW THAT YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE HAVE SEX AND THAT IT IS AN AWESOME PART OF YOUR LIFE TOGETHER. Most of us talk about the things that are important to us. Sex should be important to your marriage…it sure was when you first got married! Here is a question to consider…  Do you really want your teenagers growing up, thinking that the only “mind blowing” sexual experiences awaiting them are outside of the marriage bed? Of course not!  But THAT is what many parents communicate. (can’t blame the entertainment industry for the message WE send)

I’m not saying brag about your sex life to your kids. (creepy) I’m just saying that as they get older they will know whether it is celebrated as unique and special to your marriage…or whether it is no big deal (or is non-existent!).   I think it should be a big deal!

(by the way…they will know…trust me…awkward)


Your sons and daughters will (probably at some point) want to be sexually active WAAAAAAY  before they get married.  It does not make them bad, it just makes em normal. (I can hear you “gasping” but C’mon…you were that way.)

Walk them through it. Give them some safe hedges. Give them the tools to “guard their hearts”.  Help them be savvy about who they are and what they should expect from a date (should you choose to “Give Dating a Chance” rather than “Kiss Dating Goodbye”). Make sure they know that you understand how difficult it is to remain physically, emotionally and spiritually pure…but that they can do it….and you will help them!


I am the first man my daughters fell in love with. (almost every responsible dad is!) I must continue to pour value, sensitivity, admonition, tenderness, attention, trust, caring etc…. into their lives in order for them to develop a healthy view of sex. If all I do is explain where “babies come from” I have set them up for heartache, fear and a series of poor choices.


My kids go to public school (our choice, raise your children according to your own conviction). I am keenly aware of what they face when they walk through the doors of their schools. The temptations, the influences etc… They face (at school) pretty much what they will face when they are out of school…except when they will not live with us anymore. I want to prepare them for the battle before they are 200 miles away, only come home for holidays and wonder how to handle all of these emotions and feelings. Consequently, I’m am at school regularly, I listen to what is said, I ask questions, I pay attention. I am also aware that I probably only know about half of the things that go on!  Scary cause the things I DO know make me want to move to Montana….to a small town… to a small house….with a bunker!,

PRINCIPLE #9 IT IS NOT A “MONOLOGUE”,   BUT AN ONGOING DISCUSSION.  Talking to your kids about sex is not a one-time discussion that can be checked off. It is a dialogue. I’m not saying that you talk to your kids about sex “everyday- all- the -time”. But I am saying that “the world”, their friends and their own sin nature,  talks to your kids about sex “everyday-all-the-time”!  Think about it. Doesn’t it make sense that we (as parents) should at least have a voice in the discussion?

….got any other principles your use?  Let me know


Sis…You Make Me Smile!

About three months ago, my daughter Sydney got her drivers license. As I pulled in from work that afternoon, my wife came out to see me with a funny look on her face. One of those looks that says, “I hope you are prepared for what you are about to see!”. Without a word she reached up and kissed me as I heard my daughter start her car for the first time. A moment later, Sydney drove slowly around the driveway from the back of the house (with her sister next to her), rolled her window down and said simply “BYE DAD!”….and off she went. I could not even speak. “Yesterday” she was proud of herself for wearing “big girl pants” and now she is driving?!? Are you kidding me!

In the few weeks since that haunting afternoon, I have often looked back on those 16 years of life and have come to the conclusion that she is “growing up good”! Yea, I know, we all have kids and they are the smartest, prettiest, and most talented teenagers on the planet…I get it. None of that is true with Sydney. Sure she is smart, pretty and talented but she is a normal 16 year old girl with a pretty ordinary life. Public schooled, likes boys, loves movies and romance, she laughs a lot and cries when she needs to. “Bad hair days” can “rock her world”, friendships can be both painful and terrific (all at the same time) and school is well, school. To sum it up….. “it ain’t easy being a 16 year old girl!”…. but Sydney has some pretty extraordinary qualities that get her through all of that junk:

1. She Loves Jesus. Not in the “my dad is on staff and people are watching me” kind of way but in the “I want to walk with Him when no one is looking too” kind of way. I mean, she has wrestle with God through heartbreak, challenges, loss and blessings and still clings to him. If it is true that most adults still “are who we are” in High School, then Sydney is gonna make a great adult.

2. She Will Be Your Friend, Even If You are Popular! When Sydney turned 16 we thought it would be a good idea to have a “few” of her friends over for a party to celebrate. Well, a “few” turned into 72! The number of friends is not the cool part…it was the variety. Athletes, band members, home-schoolers, drama clubbers, cheerleaders, church kids, un-churched kids, “rival” High School kids, cowboys, druggies…er…kids who are struggling with substance abuse, etc… all came to the party, got along and “played by her rules”. In fact, we had one of the interns bring a sound system and play music. The whole place was dancing to Toby Mac, LeCrae and even “Uncle Charlie” songs… you won’t see that on MTV! For some of these kids it was the first time at a party like this. The home-schoolers had not been around “substance abusers” who had not been around jocks, who don’t hang with the drama folks etc… but they did at her party. Ya see….She will not hold it against you if you are popular, can throw a ball, blow a horn, like to act, don’t go to her school, have money, tons of acne, sport a tat, wear button downs or a drive a “beamer”! She does not care…and a lot of people love her for it.

3. She Can Sing! Really…I’m talking freakish talent. I mean the “get this kid a Scholarship (I hope) and a contract” kind of singing. Watching her lead worship and/or sing a solo is breathtaking. So good so young. No dreams of being the next “big thing” just being herself. She sings Sinatra, Swift, Buble’, Nicole, Jobe, Nordaman and even some Crowder, all with equal ease. If you have ever watched your child do something that honors the Lord and smiles while they are doing it…. well, lets just say it is pretty cool.

4. She Makes Good Decisions. Sydney, while far from being perfect, really makes good decisions. From what friends to “bring close” to “how to get herself out of tempting situations”, Sydney usually “nails it”.

5. She Still Hugs Me and My Wife! In front of “God and everyone” she still comes up and gives the best hugs ever! The kind of hug that lasts for about 10 seconds. The kind of hug that ends in a crescendo of “mm-mmmm!” She hugs me in front of potential boyfriends, her friends from school, other adults…and when no one else is looking. It is a reflection of her heart.

It makes me smile!



Found this in my “Easter Resources” folder…. real good stuff from Josh McDowell…enjoy

Evidence for the Resurrection

by Josh McDowell

For centuries many of the world’s distinguished philosophers have assaulted Christianity as being irrational, superstitious and absurd. Many have chosen simply to ignore the central issue of the resurrection. Others have tried to explain it away through various theories. But the historical evidence just can’t be discounted.

A student at the University of Uruguay said to me. “Professor McDowell, why can’t you refute Christianity?”

“For a very simple reason,” I answered. “I am not able to explain away an event in history–the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

How can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by any natural cause?

After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings–or it is the most remarkable fact of history.

Here are some of the facts relevant to the resurrection: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet who claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, was arrested, was judged a political criminal, and was crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women who went to His tomb found the body gone. In subsequent weeks, His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He appeared to them various times before ascending into heaven.

From that foundation, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and has continued to exert great influence down through the centuries.

The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts.

The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means “good news,” the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.

F. F. Bruce, Rylands professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester, says concerning the value of the New Testament records as primary sources: “Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.”

Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents.

By the end of the 1 9th century, however, archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts. Discoveries of early papyri bridged the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from a later date.

Those findings increased scholarly confidence in the reliability of the Bible. William F. Albright, who in his day was the world’s foremost biblical archaeologist, said: “We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today.”

Coinciding with the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light (over 24,000 copies of early New Testament manuscripts are known to be in existence today). The historian Luke wrote of “authentic evidence” concerning the resurrection. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded: “Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. ”

I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . .  E. M. Blaiklock Professor of Classics, Auckland University

The New Testament witnesses were fully aware of the background against which the resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth. About 100 pounds of aromatic spices, mixed together to form a gummy substance, were applied to the wrappings of cloth about the body. After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Large stones weighing approximately two tons were normally rolled (by means of levers) against a tomb entrance.

A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to “prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.

But three days later the tomb was empty. The followers of Jesus said He had risen from the dead. They reported that He appeared to them during a period of 40 days, showing Himself to them by many “infallible proofs.” Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote. So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead. Consider these facts:

As we have said, the first obvious fact was the breaking of the seal that stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. People feared the breaking of the seal. Jesus’ disciples displayed signs of cowardice when they hid themselves. Peter, one of these disciples, went out and denied Christ three times.

As we have already discussed, another obvious fact after the resurrection was the empty tomb. The disciples of Christ did not go off to Athens or Rome to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was “too notorious to be denied.” Paul Althaus states that the resurrection “could have not been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned.”
Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the “Toledoth Jeshu.” Dr. Paul Maier calls this “positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine.”
Gamaliel, who was a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, put forth the suggestion that the rise of the Christian movement was God’s doing; he could not have done that if the tomb were still occupied, or if the Sanhedrin knew the whereabouts of Christ’s body.
Paul Maier observes that ” . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.”

On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it.
There exists no document from the ancient world, witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies . . . Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational bias.  – Clark Pinnock , McMaster University
Those who observed the stone after the resurrection describe its position as having been rolled up a slope away not just from the entrance of the tomb, but from the entire massive sepulcher. It was in such a position that it looked as if it had been picked up and carried away. Now, I ask you, if the disciples had wanted to come in, tiptoe around the sleeping guards, and then roll the stone over and steal Jesus’ body, how could they have done that without the guards’ awareness?

The Roman guards fled. They left their place of responsibility. How can their attrition he explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional? Justin, in Digest #49, mentions all the offenses that required the death penalty. The fear of their superiors’ wrath and the possibility of death meant that they paid close attention to the minutest details of their jobs. One way a guard was put to death was by being stripped of his clothes and then burned alive in a fire started with his garments. If it was not apparent which soldier had failed in his duty, then lots were drawn to see which one wand be punished with death for the guard unit’s failure. Certainly the entire unit would not have fallen asleep with that kind of threat over their heads. Dr. George Currie, a student of Roman military discipline, wrote that fear of punishment “produced flawless attention to duty, especially in the night watches.”

In a literal sense, against all statements to the contrary, the tomb was not totally empty–because of an amazing phenomenon. John, a disciple of Jesus, looked over to the place where the body of Jesus had lain, and there were the grave clothes, in the form of the body, slightly caved in and empty–like the empty chrysalis of a caterpillar’s cocoon. That’s enough to make a believer out of anybody. John never did get over it. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes–undisturbed in form and position.

Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter . When studying an event in history, it is important to know whether enough people who were participants or eyewitnesses to the event were alive when the facts about the event were published. To know this is obviously helpful in ascertaining the accuracy of the published report. If the number of eyewitnesses is substantial, the event can he regarded as fairly well established. For instance, if we all witness a murder, and a later police report turns out to he a fabrication of lies, we as eyewitnesses can refute it.

Several very important factors arc often overlooked when considering Christ’s post-resurrection appearances to individuals. The first is the large number of witnesses of Christ after that resurrection morning. One of the earliest records of Christ’s appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience’s knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: “What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, ‘If you do not believe me, you can ask them.’ Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago.” Let’s take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.

Another factor crucial to interpreting Christ’s appearances is that He also appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced.

Over and over again, I have read or heard people comment that Jesus was seen alive after His death and burial only by His friends and followers. Using that argument, they attempt to water down the overwhelming impact of the multiple eyewitness accounts. But that line of reasoning is so pathetic it hardly deserves comment. No author or informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a follower of Christ. The facts show the exact opposite. Saul despised Christ and persecuted Christ’s followers. It was a life-shattering experience when Christ appeared to him. Although he was at the time not a disciple, he later became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection.

If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.


“7 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Marry Him…”

I have noticed that the women in my life (wife and two daughters) are “hardwired” to be attracted to the “mushy romantic stuff”. (thank you Captain Obvious) It is just “IN THEM”. In fact, after fighting it for years they have “won me” over to their side.

SOOOOOO I am publicly (all 6 of you that will read this) admitting that I’m all for “mushy love”…romantic, candlelit, corny love. The kind of love that happens in the movies…in New York City… the snow…. at Christmas time. You know… the “can’t breathe without you, if we don’t get married I’ll die, talk on the phone till 2 in the morning, leg popping, “Pride and Prejudice” kind of love.

Yep ….Thats me.

While I’m at it I have a few more random confessions…

I actually liked “The Notebook” more than I probably should have. I think Jane Austen was a great writer! The movie “Titanic” would have “sunk” without Jack Dawson and Rose. Valentines Day IS a real holiday! I believe in love at first sight! Kisses mean something. “Wall-E” was great because a robot finds love. Gladiator was a romance… and the Princess Bride could be the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!


BUT… Since that kind of “love” usually last till just after the “credits” there are some things that I want my daughters to look for besides “all of that”.

I want em to ask themselves a few simple questions about the man they will someday (presumably) marry:

1. DOES HE LOVE JESUS? Several years ago I stopped talking in terms of “being a Christian” and started asking, do they “love Jesus”?   After all, I live in Texas, EVERYONE IS A “CHRISTIAN”! But just cause he calls himself a Christian, knows some verses and wears the t-shirt does not mean much. Does he Love Jesus? Does he really walk with the Lord? Can you tell?

2. CAN HE SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY? If you have read this blog much you can see a theme here. But so much is written in scripture about a man both having authority and being under it. A man must understand both. If my daughters are gonna marry a young man one day then they gotta go for a guy who “gets” authority. The authority he will hold in the home, and the authority he will need to submit to as he lives his life. Eph 5 and 1 Peter 3 etc… Does he understand the servant leadership that he is charged with in the home that calls him to “love his wife as Christ loved the church”? Bosses, cops, pastors, banks, landlords, housing association, blah blah blah….they all represent authority he will more than like likely have to submit to. Can he submit without becoming the rebellious guy who speaks poorly of those in authority over him?

3. IS HE IN CONTROL OF HIMSELF? When a man is driven by his appetites and not his faith, he is in danger is almost every area. From food to porn he will be at risk for addiction, deception and collapse. A woman wants to marry a man who can control himself.

4. CAN HE SUFFER WELL? Crummy boss, mean co-workers, skipped for promotion, financial setbacks etc….. will he be able to live his life well when his world falls apart? Will he find a job and keep it? Will he bail at the first signs of trouble?

5. CAN HE STAND ALONE? From the moment he leaves the house in the mornings he will be wearing “a bullseye” on his back. This world, our Enemy and his sin nature will attack him and attempt to drive a wedge between him and his wife (and kids). Has he shown that he will be a man who sticks to his convictions when everyone else caves?

6. DOES HE TREAT HIS MOTHER WELL? You can tell a lot by how a man treats his mother. Typically he will treat his wife the same way.

7. IS IT EVER HIS FAULT? I understand that sometimes the things that happen in our lives are not our fault…we are the victims. BUT… is it ever his fault when things go wrong. Can he take responsibility for his own junk? If he cannot, then his wife is going to be the reason for his struggles…cause it will not be HIS fault.

So…. I say “go for the cute one, the romantic one, the rich one, the smart one etc… just so long as he answers these questions right”!


Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Biographical, Family


7 Reasons that “Protecting the Picture” is dangerous for your family!

At least once a week I am in the homes of folks who have visited our worship services or Life Groups. Over the years I have been in hundreds of homes and almost every one has pictures of the family members. Some are simply school pics placed on the fridge with a magnate while others are ornate formal sittings. I’ve seen hunting pics, camping pics, skiing pics, Christmas pics,  prom pics, wedding pics, black and whites, beach pics, “Lady Godiva” pics (yikes), pics where the old boyfriend was torn out, and the list goes on…..  NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING PICTURES OF FAMILY… I recommend it, endorse it, it is a great idea! They give a family a sense who they are or who they want to be. My house is covered with em!

Most families do their best to represent the family well when they are “out and about”… and they should.

THE PROBLEM: Many times the family picture of warm smiles and happy embraces is anything but an accurate reflection of what is actually going on in the home. Don’t misunderstand, all families have issues to deal with. However, I have watched families, 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.


5 Reasons God May Want You To Act Like a “15 Year old Girl”.

Sarah-Clare (daughter), and I wear bracelets that represent our support for the “Invisible Children” in the war-torn country of Uganda (small donation).  Getting them was her idea.  I’m not even sure exactly where she first heard about the children but before I knew it she had researched the supporting organization, formulated a plan to support the relief efforts and figured out how to get the word out around here.
Through this little bracelet, she has opened my eyes to injustice in the world….and shown me I can learn a lot from my passionate 15 year old daughter.
Here are just a few things I have learned watching her grow up:
  1. She is passionate! My daughter throws herself wholeheartedly into projects that she cares about! No cynicism, pessimism or other negative “isms”. Whether it is ballet or injustice in a country thousands of miles away, she brings enthusiasm to it. I need to be more passionate about the things that God is passionate about!
  2. She is sensitive to injustice – When I pray for my pastor and those in leadership I typically pray that they have a “thick skin and a heart like Jesus”. While she is working on the “thick skin” part, she has the “heart like Jesus” down pat!   Job 5:15-16   I need to be sensitive to injustice!
  3. Her own sin really “bugs” her! – She has not learned to “harden her heart towards the things of God”.  As I watch her grow up I see a young woman who is developing the ability to recognize when her heart is leaving the things of God. She is often quick to come back to Him.    Hebrews 3:13   I need to weep over my own sin!
  4. She “listens to the sermon” – I know, I know….we ALL listen to the sermon right?  BUT she REALLY LISTENS! This afternoon was a great example: Our pastor preached a message he called “En-Vision 2010”. In it he explained what he believes God is asking the church to do as to local missions, discipleship etc….. an absolutely great message. Afterwards, I was quickly on to the next thing…. a leadership meeting at noon and the all church fellowship tonight, outreach, and staff retreat at the end of the week.  Not Sarah-Clare…late this afternoon she “plopped down” next to me on the sofa and explained what God had told her during the message. “Wow”, I thought, “He told me to worry about the leadership meeting, all church fellowship, blah, blah, blah”)    James 1:22  She is a do-er!  I need to be a do-er and not a hearer only!
  5. She does not “change the channel” – I have gotten pretty good about looking the other way when confronted with the homeless, disadvantaged or stricken. “I can’t help everyone” or “It is probably a scam”,  I remind myself as I switch back to the ballgame.  Sarah Clare, on the other hand, is willing to look at these things with eyes of genuine concern and desire to help. She is actually frustrated the she can’t help them all!   I need to be frustrated more!

It turns out that I really need to be a lot more like my 15 year old daughter…

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Posted by on January 10, 2010 in Family


#3. Leading a Family Well is Tough

My wife will say that being a mother is the most rewarding job that exists….. and one of the hardest.  It can be a thankless job requiring thousands of hours of sacrifice. Margie (my wife), after the miracle of birth, has assumed the roles of, counselor, decorator, doctor, mediator, confidant, cook, lover, taxi driver, coach, cheerleader,  housekeeper, decorator, comforter, sage, seamstress, financial planner…..etc.

HOWEVER… She will also say that the mantle of responsibility that God places on a man is greater still. (Ephesians 5)

10 Obstacles that a man faces when he tries to lead his family…

  1. He is a “Punchline” in our culture. Name the last TV commercial, sitcom, or movie  you saw where the man was not weak, beholden to his lusts or simply an idiot. His wife, of course, is the smart, savvy one and his kids barely tolerate his ramblings. The Christian man gets it even worse: always the “doormat”, the creepy neighbor, the “judgmental finger pointer” or the pedophile. Very predictable…. and very tired. But it has taken its toll on Christian men.
  2. His own insecurities.  A man has a unique set of insecurities that follow him out of young adulthood into marriage. Some related to immaturity, some related to pain that has not been dealt with,  and some are just that fact that he sometime believes what the world tells him.
  3. His Lack of role model. Most men never had a father who lead his family well. The Men of the Greatest Generation saved the world from oppression, came home and built a powerful economy but kept their families, and especially their sons,  at “arms length”. The 60’s did not help either, and along came the 70’s freedom, the 80’s self-absorption. The typical man has been searching for “who he is” or who he wanted to be for the last 70 years.  All the while churning out men with no clue how to love, respect, nurture their wives or raise their children.
  4. He and his wife have trouble communicating. By the way…there is not a right way or wrong way to communicate. (obviously other than in an abusive or demeaning fashion) A man DOES communicate…but he does so like a man would!  I am all for a man learning how to verbally explain himself in a way that his wife can “hear” him. But a man should not be disqualified or worse, vilified, when he communicates like a man. The typical man shares his life in “bottom line” bits of information. That will be his “default” position until Jesus comes. His wife typically is much more verbal and expressive…obviously, unless a couple handles this well they will struggle mightily in marriage.
  5. His wife has a mind of her own! Turns out our wives have their own thoughts, dreams, goals, ambitions etc…  Many women never saw their mother’s be cherished and cared for appropriately by their fathers (if their father was even around). Consequently turning over the reigns of her life to her untested husband is difficult to do. She will fight him all the way until she sees him place her above every other woman, defend her publicly and privately, take a bullet for her, have eyes for her only, trust her with his secrets…..(i.e. place her on her rightful pedestal).
  6. He is unsure what he wants his family to “look like“. Many men do not plan past the end of the week, much less what they want their family to become.
  7. His wife knows his inconsistencies and failures. It is easy to lead folks that really don’t know you. That is why everyone loves the guest preacher and critiques their pastor.  The financial planner is trusted and successful until you examine his personal books to see that his advice does not always match his actions. It is hard to be lead by someone who does not always do what he says. And yet if anyone is examined closely enough, their actions will not match 100% of what they say. Men must lead in the midst of their inconsistencies.
  8. The Enemy has plans to destroy him. (John 10:10) Pretty simply. Every time a man walks out of his house he has a target on his back. More about this at #1.
  9. He is busy trying to support his family. Life can really get in the way of leading a family well. Our career, money, mortgage, recreation, kids, pressure, emergencies, distractions…
  10. He lacks discipline. Many men have not yet learned to lead themselves and consequently have a hard time leading anyone else.


  1. LEAD AUTHENTICALLY.  We have three children and my biggest fear is that they will get so used to being around church that they will lose their appetite for it. We “leak” on our kids. What is important to us will become important to them. Attend church begrudgingly or out of some misplaced sense of obligation and your kids will run from it the first chance they get. (ya can’t hide boredom). But show some passion for the things of God and they will be drawn to Him. (2 Cor. 11:3)
  2. Don’t “PROTECT THE PICTURE. In other words, don’t be something on Sunday’s that we are not on Saturday nights. It fosters hypocrisy! Most people put a nice picture of their family in their homes. These picture are sometime a great representation of a peaceful home and sometimes what is represented on the wall could not be further from what is actually going on in the home.  I have watched people walk away from the faith because they boiled it down to a game of not getting caught. It destroys the soul and most people just get tired of the game. The key is to just love Jesus….period. (Jer 5:1, Phil. 4:8, Titus 2:5)
  3. GROW UP – I was 34 years with three children before I embraced being an adult. (long story) I realized that I have others (wife and kids) who are inextricably hitched to me that I must bring along. Embrace them, feed them, love them,  don’t run (physically, emotionally or spiritually) from them. (1 Cor 13:11)

from The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007


#7. Marriage Takes a Whole Lot More Than Love (10 Skills My Wife Needs Me To Have)

I have believed for a long time that after about two years our wives become who we create them to be. They either “blossom” under the safety that we provide (emotional, physical, spiritual) or they get “crushed or stunted” under our thumbs. Most women allow their husbands, initially anyway, to have that kind of sway in their lives.

Some Skills to develop…

  1. Skill to Provide for her. Yep, that is right! Get a job, keep it and do well at it. Provide for your woman! (1 Tim 5:8)
  2. Skill to Study her. Know her dreams, fears, likes and dislikes, their tendencies and what pushes their buttons. Know what makes her happy or causes her stress. Know what hurts her feelings and why. (1 Tim 3:12, Implied) For most men it will take a lot of effort but start with this: understand that men and women have the same emotions….they just come out differently. Think about it!
  3. Skill to Accept her for who she is. Along with all of the gifts, abilities and talent that you married her for, she also has the shortcomings, blind spots and issues she came with. You get the good and the bad (the richer and poorer, the sickness and health..etc) By the way….she got both good and bad with you!
  4. Skill to Give her a Safe Place to Be Herself. Let her be a girl… a big reason you married her…I’m guessing. You have guy friends you can tell “pull my finger jokes” to!
  5. Skill to Listen to What She Says. She probably has some insight that you may lack. Listen to her counsel.
  6. Skill to Never Compare Her Unfavorably to Any Other Woman…ever! (Prov 19:4)
  7. Skill to Never Agree with your Buddies Who Put Her Down…. I can’t believe it but I actually have several men in mind as I write this one!
  8. Skill to “Back her up” in front of the kids, your family, etc….. you are always on your wife’s side. (Ps 128:3)
  9. Skill to Pursue her. Don’t stop just cause you married her. Keep winning her. I guarantee there is another man she knows who would love to be in your shoes and he is probably working on that right now. It is the world we live in.  (Song of Solomon)
  10. Skill to Lead Her …………. by example. Gone are the days that a man will lead his wife by fiat! (if they ever really existed in the first place) (Ephesians 5)

A good friend of mine is fond of saying that “being in love lasts about 18 months”.

He is absolutely right!

After that you better have some skill!

from The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007


Posted by on December 10, 2009 in Family, Leadership


Lesson Learned…Compassion

On Thursday afternoon I was on the way home from a fruitful but tiring day at the office when my wife called. She was a little distressed that two strangers were in our front yard picking up  the pecans that had fallen from one of our mature pecan trees. I was only a few blocks from the house but sped up nonetheless. When I turned the corner sure enough there they were. A man and a woman. Both seemed a little “off” and as they saw me park they gave me the strangest looks. Neither were intimidated (I was going for that when I abruptly pulled in) or made any indication that they would stop what they were doing.  While I’m not usually aggressive I was more than a little bit “torqued” that they not only were not slowing down their collection of MY pecans but they actually went faster gathering them!

Feeling a sense of justice overtake me I grabbed the man’s attention by raising my voice and asking, “Is this your property?”

“No” came the response.

“Are those your pecans?”

“No sir”, he mumbled.

That is more like it I though to myself as he showed a bit of contrition.

“They are my pecans and it looks like you are stealing them. I have told my son he could collect them to earn money for Christmas.” I said with parental pride in the fact that I was training my son the value of hard work.

Then I launched into a lecture about asking first, and if they had of just asked they could have had all the pecans they could carry. But now it was too late and I needed them to leave the neighborhood.

Yep, I actually banished them from the neighborhood!

The man’s eyes and whole demeanor changed and he apologized and they quickly got on their bikes and left.

Today (Saturday) my son and I raked leaves in our backyard. He worked hard and I explained to him that “today is the day” and if he would pick up the pecans that had fallen from the trees we would take them to the local “Pecan Shed” and sell them. He could keep the money he made  for Christmas like I had promised.

He collected several bags full from our backyard and with anticipation loaded the pecans and climbed into my truck. After the short drive we arrived at the “Pecan Shed” about 15 minutes before they were to close for the weekend. Both of us were a little bit excited to see what my son’s hard work had earned him.

“Five bags of pecans should get you something”, I said with a smile and gentle shove.

He just smiled back a smile of satisfaction that hard work brings.

Upon entering the warehouse we were greeted by clean cut men in jeans and boots who showed us how the whole show works. Examine the pecans, weigh them and get paid!

As we looked around at the other folks there I noticed that they all looked a lot like the man and woman in my front yard two days before. All were weathered, distant and a little dirty.  They all seemed down and anxious about what their bags of pecans might bring. All (or certainly most) appeared to be  folks who needed this money for things a whole lot more serious that extra cash for Christmas. They seemed to need it to live. (I get that some were in this situation because of addictions and bad choices but c’mon)

My son noticed it too. He was quiet when we went back to the truck.  I was expecting him to be more excited about his $4.95 payday but he  is a smart 10 year old.  He was aware of the situations that surrounded him.

As we drove home the conversation was muted. I was trying to deal with my arrogance without throwing up!

How could I have the audacity to lecture a homeless couple about the etiquette of picking someone’s pecans?

Why did I tell them that these pecans were for my son and not for them? My son has everything he needs and then some. I felt like a spoiled, snotty little  child who was unwilling to share his candy.

I asked God to forgive me. Sure hope I get another chance…

Not exactly my best.

Lesson Learned.


Random Questions 21-29

#21  Who did you vote for in the last election? None of your business:)  but I will tell ya that I was not real happy with the folks we had to choose from. Think I’ll write in a name next time.

#22 What person in history would you like to meet and why? Gotta go with more than one.  George Washington, Francis Marion, Eric Liddle, Apostle Paul, Josephus….a bunch of em. (by the way, didn’t  list Jesus cause I already met him)

#23 When were you “called to Ministry”? Sophomore in College…I was gonna be a rich business man  up until then.

#24 What is best gift you have ever received? (duh!) 2nd best gift was a Schwinn “Lemon Peeler” 5 Speed bicycle.  Big tire in back, small one in the front. Nothing was cooler in 1975!

#25 What is your proudest achievement? So far? My family. I know they are great sometimes in spite of me but I’m gonna take the blame if they mess up so I may as well grab some credit.

#26  If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?  Your kidding, right?

#27 What do you like most about your ministry? Love seeing the “lights come on” with people. Mine is a “teaching and training” ministry so that is the point right?

#28 What do you like least about your ministry?  Well, right now Iam frustrated in dealing with people that want to “go deeper”. I think that “going deeper” is sometimes code for: “I’m the most spiritual person in the room and I can’t learn from someone unless it is served up like I like it.” What is deeper than Jesus Loves me?  That Too harsh?

#29 What do you do to relax? Work out, read, watch Discovery, History, Smithsonian or SyFy Channel. Yep….classic “geek”.

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Posted by on November 13, 2009 in Biographical, Family