Enjoying the Journey

Posts Tagged ‘children’

How To Keep the Next Generation

A fellow preacher and personal friend asked me recently how I believed we could do a better job of retaining young people in our churches. It is a problem of epidemic proportions. The vast majority of young people are exiting the local church by the time they are eighteen. For many years I said to prospective youth workers that we must get young people connected to more than the youth group. It is my conviction that, as early in life as possible, young people must find their place in the church. It must be their church. The pastor must be their pastor. And some work for the Lord must be their ministry. This cannot begin when they graduate from high…

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A Simple Idea for Families

Families are busier than they have ever been. One of the most challenging things to do as a spouse or parent is consistently read the Bible with your family. I must confess that I feel I have failed in this area more often than I have succeeded. We have done better at certain seasons than at others, but I want to be more diligent in putting the Word of God into our hearts and home. Pastor Sexton instructed us that a Christian home has more to do with what you put into it than what you take out of it. In one of the classic passages on the family the Heavenly Father reminds us that a key element in home…

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How to Make This A Great School Year

Our children have just begun a new year at a new school. We have been blessed to have had our children in a wonderful school through the years and are truly thankful that the Lord continues to provide that opportunity for our family. Across the country this is the time when schools resume – elementary, middle school, high school, and college students are beginning the next step of their education. As a teacher for many years, I always enjoyed walking into a classroom filled with new students and new possibilities. As a parent, I want my children to make the most of their opportunity. If you are a Christian, this school year should be dedicated to Christ. Whether enrolled in…

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The Kindest Thing You Can Do for Your Preacher

Recently someone asked me what the kindest thing was that had been done for me as I traveled from church to church. That was easy. Pastors and people have been very gracious and encouraging in every place where we have been privileged to serve, but there is one thing that stands out above the rest. It costs nothing, and yet it is priceless. It is not tangible, but it brings visible results. It seems somewhat small, but it is an enormous gift. The kindest thing ever done for me is for someone to love and encourage my wife and children. Many years ago I heard my pastor say that the nicest thing anyone ever did for him was love his…

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A Word to the In-Laws

I know. The title has real potential. A preacher friend of mine recently said to me, “I have no problem with mother-in-laws. I love my wife’s mother-in-law!” (For the record, I did laugh. But I shouldn’t have…) My relationship with my wife’s parents has always been especially good. For that I am truly grateful. My word of thanks to them goes far beyond my own relationship… Today my wife and I celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. My thoughts are full of past experiences, present blessings, and future dreams. I am a blessed man. On this special day I would like to say thank you to people who often do not get the credit they deserve. You see, without my father-in-law…

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What I Learned from a Child About Singing Hymns

You can learn a lot from a child.  Sometimes those we are teaching become our teachers.  This happened to me again recently.  As I walked through a certain place I heard the voice of a young man singing a great hymn.  Not just singing it…singing every word…with abandon! Suddenly so many things were clear.  This young boy has parents who love the Lord.  He is being raised in a church where the great hymns of the faith are being sung.  Now he loves them too. Young people love old hymns.  Many churches today have followed the assumption that kids only want “new music.”  In fact, they want something that is real.  They want truth.  It doesn’t have to be new…

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Happy Homes

One of the most wonderful gifts that my parents gave to me growing up was a happy home.  Yes, they had rules.  No, we did not get to do whatever we wanted to do.  But there was never the sense that we were “missing out.”  After all of these years it is the joy of the Lord that I witnessed in my parent’s lives that has stayed with me. Many years ago Pastor Sexton preached a message titled “Living on the Sunny Side of Life.”  One statement that he made seems especially appropriate today: “Don’t just live on the right side – live on the bright side.”  Christ has designed it so that we can have both! One of the…

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3 Things You Could Write Today

Writing is work!  It takes time and more mental energy than most tasks.  I am currently reading the biography of Jonathan Edwards.  Edwards was one of the greatest theological minds that America has known, and this is no accident.  His father worked diligently for the education of each of his children.  One of the disciplines that the elder Edwards built into his children’s training was the practice of regular writing.  Correspondence and other compositions were expected on a regular basis. Today’s young people are learning to tweet, post, text, and message…but they are not learning to write.  Some will argue that this is a different day and communication is so much simpler.  The truth remains that writing is connected to…

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The Years Are Passing Too Quickly

I know, I know – I sound like an old man.  Suddenly all of the things I heard the “old people” say years ago are making so much sense! Last week Morgan (our oldest) was going through some old pictures.  Really old pictures.  Back before iPods, iPhones, and digital photography.  Back in the “old days” when we took rolls to Wal-Mart and had them developed.  Back when pictures ended up in books and boxes, not in online folders. She found a picture of the first snow man that we built together.  There we are in the back yard of our first house with a fine specimen of Frosty.  Good memories. Today, like most of the southern states, we were blasted with…

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When Young People Ask Hard Questions

Questions are opportunities to teach.  God gave explicit instructions to Israel about what to say when your children ask (Deuteronomy 6:20-25).  And ask they will!  All of us who have young people in our homes are well acquainted with the question, “Why?”  It is the way we answer that determines the outcome. Recently I allowed the young people in our Academy to submit anonymously questions that have troubled them.  I was overwhelmed by the response.  Sincere questions and concerns.  Some doctrinal, some personal – family, eternity, morality, God, the Bible, and relationships.  We have since tried to schedule chapel speakers who could address specific topics that are on their minds. Questions cannot be ignored.  In fact, they should be encouraged.…

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