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Category Archives: Leadership

Toughest Job on the Planet is to lead well

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”
 

“Facebook Theologians”

I have had this little rant “in the vault” for several months now.

I’m a guy who really enjoys Facebook. In spite of some of the silliness of “friending/unfriending”  I have found it to be a great way to keep up with people in the midst of keeping a very hectic pace. I have over 1300 “friends” (not that I am keeping score, but I am “winning”… Sydney! haha!) I GET that much of what is shared on facebook is “image sculpting”, I GET that many of my “Facebook Friends” are people to whom I have never spoken to face to face and I also GET that I have probably passed several of my “friends” in town, never knowing we are electronically connected… you may call them “imaginary” but I am fine with still calling them friends.

FACEBOOK simply “IS WHAT IT IS”.

BUT…

Have you ever watched in frustration (and some amusement)  as “Facebook Theologians” wage an “epic written battle for the hearts and souls of their friends”  about such “life changing” subjects as Calvinism, the Reformed Church, “Missional” versus “Attractional” models of ministry, “organic/corporate” structure, giving, worship styles, etc…?   What starts as an innocuous comment, ends in a ridiculous, convulsion of anger and epithets. One posts something then the other responds then the back-and-forth starts till it gets ugly and divisive. Is Facebook really the place for those kinds of debates?

CONSIDER …

  1. When you post something to Facebook, twitter etc… the world is watching and judging you by your words… and they should!  In those forums, words are all you have. They ARE your actions. You may be of the opinion that “we should not care what other people think!”  to that I reply, “then why are you try to persuade them in the first place?”
  2. The Christian community already wrestles against reputation of being unloving and unable to get along with each other! Some people are looking for reasons to discredit your faith…don’t give them an easy way to do that.
  3. Is it really worth hurting the cause of Christ so you can explain why “churches with big buildings are evil”, why “seeker churches never saved anybody”, why “Joel Osteen is a sham” and “President Obama is the Anti-Christ”?  (these are real examples) All the while posting verses about how much Jesus loves people…(maybe just right-wing, republican, evangelical, middle class people who agree with you…haha.)
  4. So much harm comes to the “body of Christ” when Christians fiercely and publicly defend a position that has been debated by reputable scholars for hundreds of years. Did you really figure it all out after work and during weekends? More than likely you simply found something you can agree with based on your upbringing, personality and understanding. That is ok…we all do it…we just don’t all wail about it on Facebook.

I’m NOT talking about the core tenets of the Faith like the deity of Christ, salvation the through Jesus alone etc… fight hard for those… but use some discernment. There are only really about “7 biggies”.  GOD – Gen 1:1,26,27, 3:22.  JESUS – Matt.1:22-23, Rom. 1:3-4 more. HOLY SPIRIT – 2 Cor 3:17, Acts 1:8, Eph 1:13 more. SCRIPTURE – 2 Peter 1:20-21 ,Prov 30:5 more. PEOPLE – Gen 1:27, Psalm 8:3-6 more. SALVATION THROUGH JESUS ALONE – Rom 6:23, John 3:16, Rom 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-9 more. ETERNITY – Rom 6:23, Rev. 20:15 more…The rest is up for friendly, redemptive, gentle discussion

If you believe strongly in a certain point of view…GET A BLOG! Write about it. Then folks who want to know more about your opinions can read all about it. The rest of us can read about our imaginary friends who got married, need prayer, watched the Grammy Awards, hate the Yankees or got to see “little Johnny” score his first goal.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2011 in Leadership

 

“FRIENDLY FIRE”…EXPECT IT! Devo 2-17-11

Expect some "Friendly Fire"...it won't kill ya if ya know it is coming!

I just spent the last couple of days with men I greatly admire…they are Ministers of Education from some of the SBC’s largest churches. Several of these men have been critiqued, questioned and vilified by the folks they serve almost to the point of giving up. I got to talk at length to a couple of them and reminded them of the following…I pray it helps!

 

Most of your wounds will be from “FRIENDLY FIRE”…..man! I wish someone had mentioned that early on in my walk with the Lord! It would have saved me some bitterness and frustration. 🙂

FRIENDLY FIRE is a term used to describe shots fired at you in battle… by your own men.

James 3:9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.

We all have a tendency to extend grace to ourselves and judgement to others. Examine your own life….when you cut someone off in traffic it is because: “you are in a hurry, you are late, you are justified, your priorities are superior to those on the road around you” etc…perfectlly reasonable explanations! BUT when someone cuts YOU off in traffic they are …. “a jerk, reckless, irresponsible idiots, boneheads of the highest order,  etc…”   Right?

This tendency can be especially tragic when people mix the genuine call to a high moral standard (Biblical Christianity) with our propensity to judge others. The result for some is the absolute abuse of people who stand to lead, volunteer, or serve the body of Christ.

Anyone who has ever shared the gospel, preached a message or taught a small group has their stories……here is one of mine:

The First Time I ever preached at the Met (Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston) was in the summer of 1994. I was the youth minister for the rapidly growing church and  found myself in front of about 1200 people one Sunday morning. The week before, I prepared like crazy, got very little sleep, and lost most of my appetite. To say I was “worked up” would have been an understatement. With my wife in the audience (thank God for a friendly face) I proceeded to preach a decent little sermon: 4 points, some good illustrations and even a video clip.  Several people gave their lives to Jesus that morning and I left the platform reasonably satisfied that I had honored the Lord with the message.

Apparently not everyone was all that happy with the message (on forgiveness by the way) as I received a phone call the next morning from a gentleman (I use the term loosely) who proceeded to critique just about every part of my sermon and even the fact that I was wearing a fancy suit (my only one….funerals, wedding, preaching suit. the guy did NOT like three buttons I guess).  I remember sitting in my office stunned and bewildered that someone took such offense at a sermon. (A Biblical one at that!)

…these days I can smile about it but do remember the pain and angst it caused.

Ya see…

In some cases Critique, criticism and judgement can, over time, turn a once bold “man of God” to a “quivering pile of goo”! We have all seen the Pastor who is beholden to those who critique him. He changes his preparation and thought process to accommodate his critics. He has given them power over him and tragically allowed them to take God’s place…….. sad…… but common, very common. I know dozens of men who have left ministry for good because they could not get over the fact that folks who profess a love for Jesus may very well profess a dislike for others who serve Him.

Is it wrong?….yes!

Is it part of the deal?….has been for years!

John 13:35  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Quick note: The shots rarely come from the core folks in a church. The core is too busy serving and working to reach people. The shots come from those in the stands …. the Monday morning QB’s and onlookers who treat the church like their favorite team…. taking credit for the win and casting blame in a loss.

IGNORE THEM!!!!

Just knowing where the shots are coming from is half the battle.

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

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Devotional Thoughts, Leadership

 

HOW’S YOUR SERVE? Devo 2-16-11

“SERVING WITH NO APPLAUSE”

While we dream of doing “Big Things” for God, the reality is this that most of us are called to serve God in the mundane, everyday, “living out” of our faith in relative obscurity.  In our OBSCURITY we raise families, pay bills, help friends, walk with God, feed the hungry, visit the sick, meet needs, take care of the widows and simply do LIFE!

In the Summer of 1989 I sat on the back porch of our tiny rented home in our little West Texas town, dejected, frustrate and feeling terribly alone. I vividly remember praying this exact prayer… “Lord, I will do anything for You. I’ll plant a church, go on the mission field, move across country, sacrifice financially, anything you ask me to do, I will do!  Just tell me what you want me to do!”   (In my heart what I really meant was “I want to do something bigger than this, I’m tired of laboring in obscurity, while guys I know are moving on to bigger and better places, God, I am bigger than this!!!!)

In what was an incredible time of clarity in my life, God seemed to immediately respond to my prayers with this question: Will you follow and serve me when there is no applause?” It continues to be a defining question for most people who follow Jesus. I was looking to be a ‘rock star” and Jesus was looking for servants. My faith was about me and the faith He offers is about Him. I was open to do the grand things for God but “winced” at the thought of serving him in obscurity.

Richard Foster said it well when he wrote, “In some ways we would rather hear Jesus command to deny our father and mother, houses and land for the sake of the Gospel, than to hear his command to “wash feet”.

Mark 10:43-45  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • Last Sunday night was special for our church and for Brady Sharp. He was “ordained” by the church in a very special ceremony. He was “set apart for the work of the church and the Gospel ministry”…pretty cool. Brady is “called to Ministry”.  It is a good thing.
  • Some people are called serve God in some exotic mission location to tell the story of Jesus… It is a good thing.
  • Some people are called to serve God by planting a church where there are none…  It is a good thing.
  • Some people are called to serve God and make extraordinary public sacrifices for the cause of Christ… It is a good thing.
  • Most people are called to raise a family, go to work….love the Lord…… IN OBSCURITY… and it is a good thing.

(Matthew 20:26-27, John 13:12-15, Romans 15:1-3, 1 Corinthians 10:24)


 

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?

THE POINT:

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

 

FOCUSED WORSHIP Devo 2-9-11

Worship is always about Him.

I must confess that I can be a bit SELFISH when it comes to my worship habits. I often walk into a “worship service” hoping for a little “pick-me-up”.  Ya know, a cathartic experience that soothes MY frazzled nerves, calms MY soul and gets ME motivated again. (I also wouldn’t mind if we could wrap things up in about an hour…I have things to do.)  I have even sometimes left the service disappointed that I really couldn’t “get into it”. That is clearly the fault of those leading worship right?
 
Well…no.  The above paragraph assumes that WORSHIP IS ABOUT ME, what I want and what I am willing to drive downtown for.      

IT ISN’T!!!    WORSHIP IS ABOUT GOD!  
 
I will be the first to say that deep, sincere spontaneous worship can be the most soothing, calming, motivational experience of your life…it can also be  among the most “gut wrenching”, convicting and emotionally painful experiences you will ever endure. Either way, THE FOCUS IS ON WORSHIPPING GOD…not on what I want.

Hebrews 13:15  ThroughHim then, let us continually offer up a SACRIFICE of PRAISE, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

The word SACRIFICE means that we set aside our wants, needs and desires on someone else’s behalf. In worship, that someone else is God.

A. W. Tozer called worship the “missing jewel of the church”. 
 

 

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

I never tire of seeing this video….  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kerMm0HG1mk   

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…….  

GREAT PICTURE OF WORSHIP!

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

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

 

“7 Ways Half-Hearted Worship Causes Us to Suffer”

 

I have always admired athletes that compete with ENTHUSIASM, JOY and FOCUS. You know…the guys (and gals) who play hard even in practice, workout after the game and “leave it all on the field”! Whether they are professionals on a national stage or kids on the local soccer field, everyone roots for the guy or gal who “gives it all they have”!  Conversely, I get a little irritated by guys who cheat (steroids, stealing signs etc…) and the guys who offer half-hearted efforts on the field of play. It leaves us all feeling disappointed and even angry. Ultimately it also fills the athletes themselves with a sense of loss and regret at “what could have been”. 

Likewise, half-hearted worship or simply “faking it” leaves both the believer and our Lord…dissatisfied.

(Matthew 15:8-9) 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

Half- hearted worship is cheating! Really… we are cheating ourselves, cheating God and ultimately (like all cheating) … we suffer for it. Here is what that can “look like”:

  1. WE get “bigger” – GOD gets “smaller
  2. We lose PASSION for the things of God.
  3. We GRADE the service. The message, the music, the length etc… all comes in to play when we cheat at worship.
  4. We lose INTEREST. Singing is ONLY WORSHIP if we are PASSIONATE and FOCUSED on the object of our worship!
  5. We get CYNICAL about church as a whole. If God is not worthy to be worshipped then why bother with the “whole thing”?
  6. We WORSHIP OTHER THINGS INSTEAD OF GOD. The truth is that we all worship something. For some it is money, for others sex, for still others it is their children. Whatever is the thing we sacrifice the most for…THAT is the thing we worship.
  7. We start ARRIVING LATER and LATER to the service because “I really only get something out of the preaching”
  8. MORE?
Like sports, worship requires ENTHUSIASM, JOY and FOCUS to be fruitful. 

  • ENTHUSIASM: FOR the thing worshipped.
  • JOY: IN the thing worshipped.
  • FOCUS: ON the thing worshipped

 

Lord Grant that I would cut through the “cheating” and “half-hearted” effort and WORSHIP YOU PASSIONATELY, HAPPILY and with determined FOCUS!”

 

 
 

“THE 2 AM FRIEND” Devo 2-4-11

The following is a synopsis of a lesson called: “The Discipline of Friendship” taught at “Wingmen” on January 26, 2011…

When a tragedy wakes you up at 2 am, completely “rattles your world” and leaves your family reeling ….

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO CALL?

The person you will call is your “2 am friend“.  It is that person that will spring into action, not out of a sense of obligation, but out of love, commitment, and … friendship.

GOT ONE?  Most men don’t!  Individualization, autonomy, rebellion and isolation have robbed men of the blessing that close friendship offers. Friendships that go deeper than the latest sports or political news are rare indeed. (Hebrews 10:25). We were created to have (and be to others)   “2 am friends”.    The story of David and Jonathan provides a blueprint for a healthy and committed friendship. (I Samuel 14-20)

QUICK LIST:  FRIENDS…

1. HAVE A COMMON GOAL (1 Sam 18:1)  1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.   This was right after Jonathan saw what David did to Goliath.  Literally Jonathan’s soul bonded with David’s soul. They share…

  • Same focus on God
  • Similar world view
  • Similar towards righteousness

2.  HAVE A GREAT  LOVE for EACH OTHER. Men are starved for someone who understands their situation. The Christian community (in many cases) has so branded the male/male closeness as inappropriate that men are hypersensitive about being emotionally connected to another men. (even writing this is a little uncomfortable… I must be extremely “manly”) But there can be little denying that David and Jonathan were emotionally connected (I Samuel 14-18).

  • Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) means “love” (brotherly love) in modern day Greek, such as in the term s’agapo (Σ’αγαπώ), which means “I love you”. In Ancient Greek, it often refers to a general affection or deeper sense of “true love” rather than the attraction suggested by “eros“. Agape is used in the biblical passage known as the “love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, and is described there and throughout the New Testament as sacrificial love. Agape is also used in ancient texts to denote feelings for a good meal, one’s children, and the feelings for a spouse. It can be described as the feeling of being content or holding one in high regard.  LOGOS – Software 2009.

3. SHARE  COMMITMENT 1 Samuel 18:3-4  Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.(Jonathan gives David his Sword and Robe signifying that they were no longer “son of the King” and “shepherd boy” but EQUALS)

  • Honor – there is respect
  • Equality – no one is superior to the other in the relationship
  • Vulnerability – each has equal transparency

4. ARE LOYAL TO EACH OTHER – 1 Samuel 20:30-33 “Why should you kill him?”  Jonathan defends David when David is not around. No doublespeak, no disloyalty or trying to manipulate for their own benefit.  Loyalty is expensive. It will cost you. Being loyal places the good of someone else above your own.

5. POINT EACH OTHER TOWARDS GOD. Proverbs 17:7 “a friend loves at all times”.    1 Samuel 23:18 Helped him find strength in God. Jonathan pointed David back to God and not to some pop-psychology or trendy way of thinking. How many “friends” have given us poor advice because they were offended for us or wanted us to do something for which they lacked courage. The friend we need will point us to Jesus even when it is difficult.

6. REJOICES WHEN YOU ARE BLESSED.  A real friend rejoices with you when you are blessed and encourages you when you fall. This trait is rare because so many of us are jealous when others are blessed and quickly wonder, “Why not me God?”  Cultivate the ability to rejoice when someone else is blessed.

7. TO HAVE 2 AM FRIENDS, BE A 2 AM FRIEND!

I love the thoughts behind this story …. “Male friendship has reached HEAVEN when men make such promises to each other. I treasure a sacred moment when my old childhood friend, married and with family met my wife and me on vacation in the Colorado mountains and said, after a late evening meal, “If anything happened to Kent, Judy and I will look out for Barbara and the children”. It was a sacredness I gladly reciprocated.” – R Kent Hughes.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Discipleship, Leadership

 

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.

PRACTICAL:

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