Enjoying the Journey

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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The Rising Death Toll

I enjoy laughter and love life.  I wish that every thought could be a happy one.  But that is not the world in which we live.  Ours is a day of spiritual warfare.  It seems the attack is stronger than ever and the casualties are great. War is a terrible thing.  Death is inevitable.  In World War I over 16 million people were killed.  More than 75 million in World War II.  1.2 million in the Korean Conflict.  3.8 million in Vietnam.  The death toll continues in the modern War on Terror.  We read the statistics, but it is the realization of one truth that is most staggering: every number was an eternal soul. Stand at the Vietnam Memorial and…

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The Power of Parents

As I sit in my study at home there are two pictures of my parents on the desk in front of me.  One is a photograph taken on the night that I graduated from high school.  It is hard to believe that I will soon be the age that they were then.  This picture is the way they are indelibly impressed on my mind.  Time has moved on, but some things do not change. The other picture is a recent photograph taken of mom and dad.  They have aged very little through the years but my appreciation for them has grown more than I could ever express.  Children are in so many ways a product of their parents influence.  All…

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A Message Christian Young People Desperately Need

It is my privilege to speak to young people on a regular basis.  I have to admit that they are my favorite group to preach to!  You always know where you stand with teenagers.  My heart is always stirred as I look into their faces and consider the potential in every one of their young lives. More and more as I look into the eyes of Christian young people I see a sense of apathy.  Resignation.  Defeat. Could it be that the enemy has successfully convinced an entire generation that their world is too far gone?  Their lives too insignificant to impact 7 billion people?  The condition too bad for them to make a difference? The devil is a liar.…

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For Christian Young People: You ARE Missing Out!

“A prudent wife is from the Lord.”  This verse means more to me the longer I am married.  Tammy and I were driving along in the car recently.  The kids were strangely quiet in the back seat and we were talking.  About nothing.  About everything. I really don’t remember how we came to the topic but she began to talk about how much she appreciated all that her parents had instilled in her.  They were saved when she was just a little girl and had worked hard to teach her and her siblings that the world held nothing for them.  The scars of sin were not worth the pleasure of sin.  With emotion she said to me, “People without God…

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Family Devotions and Spiritual Awakenings

“I will get married in a few months.  What advice do you have for me?”  Working with hundreds of college students these are words I have heard many times.  As I heard them again recently my mind filled with so many truths that others have passed on to me and my wife.  Too many to remember.  Too many to relay in one conversation.  But there was one… One truth that seemed to rise above all of the rest.  One lesson that I have had to learn over and over again: families must pray together. Isn’t it funny that we seem to do everything – eat, sleep, play, drive, talk – together.  Everything, except pray.  Yet this is the one thing…

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