Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Staying Connected

Yesterday, I encountered a huge blessing.  I had the opportunity to enjoy a lunch with some saints from our church.  And part of the lunch was the celebration of communion together.

The occasion that prompted this particular gathering was to say “see you later” to one of the couples around the table.  They have been active pillars of our church since 1966.  Raymond and Betty will celebrate 70 years of marriage this summer and this weekend they are moving from our city.

Over the years, this couple has served in too many roles in our church to even count.  But the one area that rises to the top in my mind is their role in ministering to children.  They have given selflessly to make sure children had a safe and welcoming place to experience the love of Jesus.

I didn’t ask this question, but I believe they would say that working with kids has kept them young.  The both of them are an inspiration.   As times have continued to change, they have worked hard at staying connected to the younger generations.


I think we need to learn something from their example.  If we are to make sure that future generations grow up to follow Jesus, we must always strive to connect with them.  Raymond and Betty have done a great job doing just that.  In fact, one of the highlights of our time together yesterday was when we lined up to take a group picture and I heard Raymond say, “hang on, I’m trying to take a selfie.”

Raymond and Betty may be moving from our city but they will always be part of our family!

There is a connection that will never be lost.

Read Full Post »

There is something special – even sacred – about our relationships with fellow believers.

I had the opportunity to have breakfast with some wonderful people this morning – one of which has been a friend for 15 years.  His kids call me Uncle Brian even though there is no familial relationship.  It’s that kind of relationship!  He is like a brother to me in many ways.  He is in town for the day for work and he carved out some time to get together this morning.Having Coffee

One of the things that I noticed as we talked and caught each other up on family news was that it was as if we picked up where we left off the last time we spoke.  There is something powerful about a relationship with another when hearts are aligned.  There is a sacred bond between people of faith.

As I have reflected on our time together, I have had two parallel thoughts.  One is that I am so thankful for my friendship with Lew – he is a blessing in my life.  The other is a conviction that I should see all the relationships to which God draws me as being just as sacred.

We are wired for relationships – that is God’s design.

What relationships do you see in your life today that you would count as sacred?  Do those people know how you feel?

Let them know they matter!

Read Full Post »

Vacation Bible School starts this morning.

The sights and sounds are very different for a Monday morning here in our building.  Hundreds of hours of preparation have gone into this week.  Prayer, sweat and maybe even a tear or two have been part of the process.  And now here we are – time to open the doors and let the children in!

There is little the church does throughout the year any more important in the scheme of eternity than this outreach and ministry to children and their families.  Jesus scolded the disciples when they tried to keep children from rushing to him.  Jesus showed compassion and even reminded us that to truly embrace a relationship with him, we need to approach Jesus with child-like, innocent faith – complete surrender.

What will you do to minister to the next generation today?

How will you show them the way to Jesus?

Read Full Post »

KidsWe wrap up Vacation Bible School today.  It has been a wonderful week full of activity, laughter and showing the love of Christ to children.  I am so blessed to be part of a family of believers that values the spiritual progression of kids!

The best testimony I heard this week was overheard.  I was entering our recreation center and a mom was leading her young son out of the building toward the parking lot and I overheard her say to her son – “I’m glad you’ve had so much fun you don’t want to leave, but we have to go.”

A child should want to be in church.  Somehow, we have focused so much of our attention on making sure the adults are getting what they need that we often forget that the experience of church and the need for community is just as real for kids.

Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  (Luke 18:16)

Jesus sees value in a child.

So should we.

Be a blessing today!

Read Full Post »

I served with a pastor years ago that used to say something to the effect that Mother’s Day is the day we celebrate mothers and how wonderful they are, but Father’s Day is the day we tell guys what terrible men they are and challenge them to be better.

I suppose there is some truth to that statement.  But yesterday, we took just a couple of minutes out of the service and we tried to remind dads of what a huge blessing and privilege it is to be a father.  It was also a time to encourage our church family to appreciate the dads in our lives.

I often say, “I hope to be like my dad when I grow up.”  He has had such an influence on my life – as much by example as anything else.  I appreciate how he has shown me what it means to love God and love others.  He has a true servant’s heart.

When I think of Father’s Day, I also think about the fact that as a believer, I have a heavenly Father.  Scripture teaches us that when we submit our lives to God, we become his children.  What an amazing thought.  We can be considered a child of the King – a daughter or son of the God of the universe!  Now that IS something to celebrate.

Yesterday we celebrated dads.  Our appreciation should not be limited to one day but should be shown to them throughout the year.  But even more so – celebrate your heavenly Father today – who gives you the right to be called a child of God!

Be blessed!

Read Full Post »

Here we are . . . another beginning to a new school year.  This summer has been a whirlwind of milestones in the lives of my children – and family.  In the last three weeks, my oldest son graduated college from Texas Tech University (and is now completely employable by the way) and my youngest headed off to begin his college career.  Today he starts his classes at my alma mater – Hardin-Simmons University.  My middle son will begin classes at Texas A & M Corpus Christi on Wednesday.

So – here we are – milestones . . . new beginnings.

As each new school year begins, I think back to those days when I walked my boys through the parking lot, holding hands to protect them from the craziness that is school drop off.  I remember the looks on their faces – a mixture of excitement and full on fear.  I remember walking away trying not to make eye contact with any other adults thinking that somehow they would not see the tears on my face.  I remember getting back to the car and just sitting, trying to collect myself and praying.  I prayed for their teachers.  I prayed for them to have an amazing day.  I prayed that God would be with them since I couldn’t.

So when we get to the beginning of a new school year, I remember those days.  Then I am reminded that my boys still need God to be with them in the same ways they did way back then.

If you are in the throws of the beginning of a new school year take heart, God will see your little ones through – and you as well.

Jesus had a special place in his heart for kids – and he still does.  Mark 10 gives a vivid picture:

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

He took them in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.  He still does!  What a beautiful picture!

Father in heaven.  Today marks another milestone in the lives of our children (and when we are honest with ourselves – our own lives as well).  Please protect our kids and offer peace to parents.  Put people in their lives that help them grow in their understanding and maturity.  Please walk beside their teachers and administrators as they give their lives to make the lives of our kids better.  Through all of it, grow them into the adults you created them to be and never stop drawing them to yourself.   Amen

Read Full Post »

It is hard to believe that summer is gone and it is time to fight school traffic and all the joys that brings. But beyond the traffic and the lunches and the paperwork (yes, the same pages you filled out last year) there is something intimidating about this day for kids and parents as well.

For kids, there is the excitement of something new and challenging mixed with the fear of the unknown and the dread of homework.  But for parents, the intimidation is different.  It comes more in the form of losing control.  That child that has been under your exclusive care is now out of sight and the care is coming from someone else.  That is scary in many ways.  But take heart and find peace in the fact that God is never absent!  So today, when you feel that concern – simply pray.  The reality is – that is the best thing you can do for your kids – and yourself.

Lord God, I pray today that you will protect our kids. Please grow them into the responsible people you want them to become. Develop them into sincere followers of Jesus so they can make a difference in their schools, in our communities and in our world. And walk with us as parents today.  May we know the peace and comfort that comes with the realization that you have our kids in your hands.  Be with the teachers and administrators in our schools.  Strengthen them and guide them as the strive to pour into the lives of our kids!  Amen!

Read Full Post »

The last two years on this day – the first day of school for my kids – I have written a post about prayer on the first day of school (you can read the one from last year here).  As I think about the importance of prayer and the importance that school plays in the lives and development of our kids, I am reminded that we should make prayer for our kids a daily practice.

I am also reminded of how limited, important and sacred our time with our kids really is.  When you look at the hours in a week and you deduct the hours spent sleeping and then you deduct the hours spent at school, you are left with a limited number of hours that you have with your kids.  When you do the math, depending on their involvement in other activities, you probably have between 20 and 25 hours in a given week (Monday through Friday) to mold and shape your kids – roughly half of the time that we turn them over to the school.

The time moves quickly.  It seems that one week you are taking your kids to kindergarten and the next you are packing the car to head off to college.

Make the most of your time with your kids.  Spend time with them.  Listen to them.  Guide them.  And yes, pray for them – everyday.

If God has entrusted you with children, how will you make their lives better today?

Read Full Post »

This Sunday, we will see all the work of the last few months come to fruition with our children’s musical drama here at 1st B.  We are dedicating the entire morning service to children.  I am excited to see and hear their message.Boy Singing

Last night, during their rehearsal, I watched from the doorway for just a minute as the children sang and spoke their parts.  I was caught up in the importance of children being involved in leading and living out the truth they have been learning since their beginning.

Parents – you have no greater responsibility in this life than to provide for and raise your children.  And the top priority within this calling to be a parent is raising your children to trust in God.  The church is here to help.  The purpose of a healthy ministry to children is to partner with parents to make sure our children grow up to be spiritual giants.

Did you catch that – the church is here to help – to partner with parents.  The responsibility rests with the parents – not the church.  What our culture needs is parents who are committed to being parents.  Parents who will do the hard work of raising up their children in the way they should go.  Parents who will instill a Godly example.

This is not a job for the faint of heart.  But when you see children on a stage, singing their hearts out to praise their king – you realize – it is all worth it!

Stay strong parents!

Read Full Post »

Lessons From Linda

One of the ministry opportunities that is afforded me as a minister is to walk with families through some really cool times – weddings, births, baptisms and others of life’s many mile markers.

But there are other times that I walk with families and the occasions aren’t nearly as joyous.  I met with a family on Sunday to plan a memorial service for Linda.  As I sat down on the sofa, I listened as four daughters gathered around to share stories and memories about their mom.  And I watched as a proud father nodded his head in agreement and love as he listened to each story.

I wrote as quickly as I could and then finally gave up and just listened.

I learned many, many things that afternoon about Linda.  But what most struck me as I drove away from the house was the undeniable, overwhelming love that this family has for one another and how they learned that from their parents.

As I have prepared to speak at her memorial today, Linda has inspired me.  I wrote yesterday about the importance of taking the time to appreciate those you love (you can read that post here).  But Linda inspires us to move beyond a mere appreciation.  I am inspired to show my love in my actions and not just in my words.

Today’s “Verse of the Day” on Biblegateway.com is 1 John 3:18, which is very fitting.  It says this,

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

A lesson Linda knew well and lived out daily.

Shouldn’t we all do the same?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »