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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

One of things that has always fascinated me is the west Texas weather – and I grew up here!

On Sunday, the sun was shining and we enjoyed 70 degree temperatures.  By the time church let out Sunday night, we had wind chills in the 30’s.  By Monday morning we had white-out conditions and 4″ of snow and a blizzard going on.

Schools and businesses closed their doors and everyone settled in to stay warm for the day in the comfort of their own homes.

I can tell you for my boys and me (Kristi is away on a business trip), it gave us a much needed day to be together.  Apart from a couple of hours I got some work done (now days we can literally work from anywhere) we spent some quality time together and I loved every single minute of it!

I am so blessed by the family God has given me!  My boys are growing into amazing men and I get to watch God work.  

So today’s post really doesn’t have much of a message other than maybe to remind us to slow down from time to time and appreciate the ones you love.

God, thank you for the day you blessed me with to spend with my sons.  It was truly a time to slow down and breath and just spend time together.

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Family At Thanksgiving

Here we are the day before Thanksgiving.  Many of us are planning time with family and that time will most likely include plenty of food, a lot of fellowship and quite possibly some football.

I remember Thanksgivings as a kid.  I grew up learning to value family and time together.  I had over 20 first cousins on one side of the family and it was never dull when we all got together.  The plan was the same each year.  Everyone would converge on my grandparents home – a little farm house on the edge of town.  It had been added on to in order to have a second bathroom and another place to sleep.  It’s normal occupants didn’t need much space, but at holiday time, it became a bit cramped.

At meal time, the kids were typically allowed to fix our plates first and then head off into another room to eat on “TV trays.”  We ate and joked and had a great time together.  But it was all just precursory to what would come next.

It became a tradition by the time I was 13 or so, that we would all load up in as few cars as possible and head over to the elementary school.  The school had a covered, outdoor basketball court.  It would begin with simple games of “PIG” or “HORSE.”  But what we were really hoping for was some unsuspecting locals who might wander up and be pulled into a friendly game.

It happened just about every year that enough would show up and we could have an actual game.  These locals had no idea what to expect from Team Hill.

We really didn’t call ourselves that, but it was no question that it was our family against whoever else showed up.  To be honest, I don’t ever remember losing.

As I think back to those days, I am reminded that no matter how far apart family members may be physically, there is a bond that cannot be broken.  It is at times like holidays that we should think about family.  If you can’t be with your family this holiday, give thanks for them and then let them know you are thinking about them.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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Over the last month, the post that has received the most views has been this one.  I wrote it on the first day of school last year and, given the recent interest in the post, I thought I would revisit the topic – particularly since today is the first day of school for my kids for the 2012 – 2013 school year.

The school years are so important in the lives of our kids.  They mature and grow, not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well.  When you think about the amount of time they spend in school compared to the time you have with them at home, it becomes even more obvious just how important it is to pray for them and for their teachers and school administrators.

So here is what I would like you to do this morning.  The following is a guided prayer.  This concept may be a bit foreign to some (it certainly was to me when I first encountered it several years ago), but it can be very effective and meaningful.  Simply follow along and pray as you feel led.

Spend a couple of minutes clearing your mind and focusing on the magnificence of God.

Pray that your children will enjoy their day.  Pray that they will be receptive to what God has for them this year.  That they will connect well with their teachers and that they will make at least one new friend who will help them stay the course in their followship of Jesus.

Pray for the teachers.  Pray that God will give them a sincere passion to make a positive impact in the lives of their students.  Pray that God will give them wisdom as to how to help each student.  And pray that God will give them the tools and the strength to use those tools to teach our kids.

Pray for the school administrators – all those folks who work to make our schools a safe and effective place of learning and growing.  Pray for their wisdom and passion.  Ask God to bless them today.

Ask God to use you to make a difference in the lives of your kids and in the schools in which they attend.

Father, I thank you for my kids.  They are growing up too fast.  I remember when I used to have to do everything for them and now, it seems, they can do it all themselves.  God, I ask you to be there for them when I can’t.  Protect them and keep their feet on the right path.  Put people in their lives today to direct them and teach them.  Grow them into the people you created them to be for your purposes, and help me to be the parent I need to be for my kids for your glory.  Amen

Be blessed today!

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This past Sunday was Father’s Day.  A day that is often set aside to give a tie or maybe a dozen golf balls to our dads.  Sometimes it is hard to come up with just what to give our dads.  Often I resort to a gift card or even worse – a check – in a card mailed too late.  At least that is how it happened this year – sorry again dad!

But it is hard to find creative ways to say thank you and show our love and appreciation for our dads.  That is not an excuse – just the reality.

However, this year, my sons made my Father’s Day experience one I will never forget!  They moved me, inspired me and gave me an overall sense of pride in the men they are becoming!  Each of them, in his own way, touched me deeply.

It began at about 11 PM on Saturday night.  I went in to tell Ethan, my middle son, goodnight and we started a conversation about his spiritual walk that went for 3 hours.  It was amazing to see and hear what God is doing in his life.

Then on Sunday morning during our worship service, Bryson, my youngest, decided during our response time to come to me.  It is customary in our church for people to come forward during this time to pray or talk with me about things they are struggling with or decisions they need to make.  Often, they come just to have me pray for them – which by the way is always wonderful.  But Bryson came with a different idea.  I assumed he was coming to ask me to pray for something going on in his life but that was not the case.  His first words were, “People always come for you to pray with them, but no one ever comes up here to pray for you.”  At that moment I began to weep.  And the tears didn’t stop as I listened to one of the most powerful and moving prayers I have ever heard!

Then, as I was trying to compose myself to finish out the response time, I looked up and my oldest son, Jared, was standing before me with tears in his eyes.  He put his arms around me and said, “I want to re-dedicate my life.”  For those of you not from our tradition or familiar with church-speak, what he was saying was “I want a closer walk with Jesus and I want my life to count for something.”  It was a moving time.

So, this past Father’s Day was one I will never forget!  I thank God for allowing me to be a dad and blessing me with a beautiful, amazing wife who has given me three incredible sons!

What about you?  How was your Father’s Day?

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Yesterday, I had a young man meet me at my office to discuss baptism.  He was raised in a different faith but has been attending our church for quite some time.  I was excited about his initiative – through our friendship, he actually approached me with his questions.

As we began, I explained the differences between the beliefs common in the Baptist denomination and those common in the faith of his childhood.  We discussed the importance of having a real life relationship with Jesus.  We also discussed the reasons for following through with Jesus’ example of baptism.

Then we moved on to being a part of a church family and the benefits of actually putting down roots and getting involved.

Through all of this discussion he was in agreement and had his mind made up that he wants to “go public” with his decision.  He wants to make it official and get plugged into our 1st B family.  So we began to discuss the process that our church recognizes for taking this step.  He has been in our services long enough to have seen the process play out and he is ready to take that step.

All of what I have shared here is exciting.  But what he said next made me sit back in my chair.  He relayed to me that he knows this is what he needs to do for his own journey, but he also really wants his young daughter to see her dad take this stand.

Parents, it is so important for you kids not only to hear what you have to say about faith and following Jesus but to also see you modeling it for them.  Kids have the innate ability to sense “fake.”  We can tell them all their lives what they should do and how they should live but if we are not living it out in front of them, our words and empty and meaningless.  You have to live it.

Make sure you model Jesus’ love for your family today!

Be blessed!

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The Family That Skis Together

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This past week was spring break in our area, so we decided as a family to head to New Mexico for a little skiing.  I took a day of vacation and we headed to the slopes.  Our three boys are teenagers, so the drive was pretty quiet – each with their own headphones plugged into their favorite music.

But once we hit the slopes, we had a blast.  It was so good to be together as a family doing something we all enjoy doing.  The boys had a great time – and except for one dislocated collar bone, we had a relatively safe time.

Our time gathered around the back of the car eating lunch in the parking lot was filled with talking about our favorite runs and what we were going to go do next.  We laughed and genuinely enjoyed being together.

Now that the boys are older, unfortunately, those kind of times are fewer than they used to be but they are no less meaningful.  In fact, I think I cherish them more.

Family is so important.  Don’t take yours for granted.  Take some time today and remind each person in your family just how important they are to you.  You’ll be glad you did.

Be blessed!

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Unplugging For the Holidays

The week between Christmas and New Years is typically pretty quiet around the church.  So, I have chosen to take some time and spend with my family and also getting some things done around the house.  I will be in the office some this week, but I am unplugging a bit.

So all that to say, unless God impresses on me to post something else this week, the next post will most likely be next week.

I hope your holidays are glorious and filled with joy, peace and happiness!

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My Son the Poet

Some days, being a father is hard work.  Some days – it’s not fun.  You know those days – one child has to be at practice at the same time one of the others has to have a parent at the school for a meeting.  Then in the midst of all that, one of the kids has a melt-down or some bad decision they have made comes to light.

Some days it seems more than I signed up for.

BUT . . .

Then there are those days when they do something amazing and you forget all those other days.  Have you ever had that experience?

My boys are pretty amazing as it is, and those days of not wanting to be their dad are few and far between.

Yesterday, was one of those amazing days.  I was on the way to run an errand when I received a text from my middle son.  All the text said was, “I left something for you in your backpack . . .”  I could not wait to get back to the office and check the backpack for what he left.

One of his current assignments in English was to write a poem.  The poem he wrote:  My Dad.

Now understand, this is a 17 year old young man who doesn’t talk much – even to those close to him.  But here I sat, reading a poem he had written revealing how he feels about me.  I don’t mind telling you, it took a couple of hours for the carpet near my desk to dry from the tears I shed as I read and reread his poem.

Yep, some days make this whole parenting thing worth it all!

Go home and hug your kid today.

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Nailed It!

Last Friday, I spent the day working on the house.  We are doing some remodeling and so I had plenty to do.  When Kristi got off work, she and Ethan joined me.  I put Ethan to work cutting some 2×4’s in order to frame up a wall to make a closet.  He did a great job and in a couple of minutes, we were ready to put them together.

It was tight quarters so I handed the nail gun to him and I held the boards.  As he set the nail gun on the board, he took his free hand and grabbed the board for leverage.  He then fired a nail into the board – or at least that had been the goal.  The nail hit the board at an angle and shot out side-ways.  He dropped the gun and gave a yell.  My first assumption was that the board splintered off and a piece had hit him.  After closer examination I realized that the 16 penny nail had shot through three of his fingers – “nailing” them together!

I would include a picture here but trust me, the sight was not for the faint of heart.  But take my word for it, he nailed it!

We then spent the next 2 hours at the emergency room having the nail pulled from his fingers.

By the protective hand of God, the nail did not hit a single bone and at this point, other than some puncture wounds, there does not appear to be any lasting damage!

But as I stood there in that ER with Ethan, I could not help be feel responsible.  I wished with all my heart that it had been me and not him that took the nail.  But all I could do was stand beside him and try to comfort him.

As I have reflected on that experience it has made me wonder:  in some very small way, I wonder if those feelings I had were not unlike the feelings God had as Jesus took the nails for the cross event?

Have you ever experienced having to watch a child suffer?

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Concrete, Jack-hammer and My Son

Yesterday, I told you about my concrete saw trials.  What I did not tell you is that I did finally get the concrete cut in the bathroom.  Unfortunately, I did not return to that particular project until last night.  But, I had help!  Some help came from an 80 pound electric jack hammer.  But most of the help came from my son.

Ethan was a huge help as we broke out the concrete that I had cut last week.  Then we dug a hole in the slab of the bathroom almost 3 feet deep.  Neither of us had ever dug a hole in the house before.  It was kind of cool!

But you know what the best part of the evening was?  Working side by side with my son.  It was a pretty manly project!

 

Thanks Ethan for your help!  I don’t suppose you would want a jack-hammer for your birthday next week would you?

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