Enjoying the Journey

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 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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Like most children, when I was very young, I memorized the Ten Commandments.  The fifth commandment says, “Honour thy father and thy mother.”  It is repeated eight times in the Bible.  As a boy, if my mother said something once I was supposed to listen.  If she said it twice, I was definitely supposed to listen.  If she had to say it three times, it was too late to listen!  When God repeats something it is always for emphasis. This is God’s word to every young person: “Honour thy father and thy mother.” For many years I quoted it without even knowing what it meant.  The word honor means to assign value to something, to treat it as a prize. …

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When I was thirteen years old an elderly preacher in the mountains of West Virginia gave me a book.  It was old and dusty.  There were no pictures and at the time it seemed like a good book just to put on the shelf.  Several years passed before I actually read its yellowed pages, but after reading them I would never forget them. Russell Conwell was a preacher and educator.  He started what is now known as Temple University in Philadelphia.  Conwell traveled the world giving a very famous lecture over 5,000 times.  Any honorarium that was given to him was in turn given to some young person to help them through college.  But the value of his lecture was…

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One of the greatest privileges of my life has been the opportunity to work with young people. Youth ministry is not a stepping stone to another ministry. It is the work of a lifetime! D.L. Moody said if he had his whole life to live other he would give it all to working with children. I truly believe that the greatest work on earth is influencing the next generation with the truth of God’s Word and pointing them to Jesus Christ. When I was 12 years old God changed my life at a summer youth camp. I have never been the same. There are more young people alive at this moment than there have ever been. The majority have never…

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I am sitting in Michigan this morning listening to the wind howl outside.  Eighteen years ago I started making regular trips to the great white north.  Not to see the sights or exchange ideas with people who speak a different dialect than me.  No.  It was a much bigger reason.  You see, the love of my life grew up here.  There is an old western song that says, “I met a girl from Saginaw, Michigan.”  That’s me. Now all of these years (and three children) later, here I am.  A West Virginia boy sitting in the midst of Yankee land…and loving every minute of it.  As I have grown older I have come to appreciate more and more the influences…

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This past Sunday our oldest daughter, Morgan, turned thirteen.  Is that possible?  Where have the years gone?  Tammy and I are very grateful to God for all of our children…and our teenager. I told someone recently that I have been preaching to teenagers for years, but I never had to take one home at night!  It is different.  I have fewer answers and more questions and I appreciate my parents more every day. It was Mark Twain who suggested, “When a child turns 12 you should put him in a barrel, nail the lid down and feed him through a knot hole.  When he turns 16, plug the hole.”  Unfortunately, we have not found a Bible verse to support this,…

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I was asked recently to speak to a group of parents on the subject of pitfalls in the home.  I read.  I thought.  I asked questions.  I made a list.  Hypocrisy, unrealistic expectations, division between those in authority, inconsistency, rules without relationship, religion without joy, passiveness, overuse of media, and on and on the list goes.  After much reflection I have come to the conviction that in most of our homes the greatest danger is that we are “just too busy!” Isn’t it amazing that with all of our time saving devices, time management books, fast food, and “on demand” technology that it seems we have less time than ever?  Barna reports that more than 50% of people surveyed say…

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“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6 For many years I have heard this verse quoted and preached.  Now that I am about to have a teenager it is beginning to mean more to me personally.  Recently, I told a friend that I have been preaching to teens for years but I never had to take one home at night!  I think the scary thing is not so much taking them home as realizing that soon enough they will be leaving home.  (Suddenly I think I am sounding like my dad.) This proverb has both a principle and a promise.  Like so many other…

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