Tuesday, April 19, 2016


I finally figured out how to form faith in our kids...

I have been thinking a lot about how to shape faith among our young.  I am interested because I am an elder and we have a lot -- a lot -- of people under 18 in our church family.  I am interested because I have five grand-kids whose faith is being shaped right now.

It is no secret that I am proud of my two kids.  They are not perfect but they are faithful.  They love God.  So I started thinking about what it might have been that shaped their faith.

I want to be clear how much I appreciate Bible classes and youth programs.  I appreciate Youth Ministers and the programs they implement.  I am a big fan of good preaching and singing praises to God.  But I don't think it was programs and ministers that formed my kid's faith.

And we tried as parents to shape faith.  We prayed over Julie and Joe Don.  We tried to model grace, forgiveness, repentance, faithfulness, service, and sharing our faith.  I do think parents have more to do with shaping faith than anyone -- or anything -- else.  But parents need help.

So here is what I appreciate about how my kid's faith was shaped.

When they were little, I was a Youth Minister for a bunch of teens who loved our kids.  So did a lot of the parents.  And we did life with other couples trying to raise faithful kids.  Some that our kids don't even remember.  

Then I preached for a while at a small church in East Texas.  That church adopted our kids -- and us.  Half the time a teenager had our kids.  The rest of the time they were sitting with extended family.  Church was a fun and happy place for them.

I did campus ministry for a while.  Did life with the other families helping in that ministry.  And our kids knew a lot of committed Christian students.  Athletes who loved Jesus more than sports.  Kids hanging out with them.  Taking them to movies or to get snow cones.

And my kids spent lots of time with grandparents who loved Jesus.  Family church.  Prayer circles.  Lots of love.  Eating with them, showing up at ballgames, going to church.  We still have a four generation row at church even now.

Our kids saw a lot of real life.  Been going to funerals all their lives.  Seen who knows how many baptisms.  Devos at our house.  Heard lots of prayers.  Heard lots of Bible studies.  Lots of laughter and lots of tears.

So here is what I think I have figured out about forming faith in your kids.

Don't worry about the programs at church.  Quit searching for the perfect Bible school and youth program.

Instead, be sure your kids get lots of life sharing.  Be part of real community.  Have people you do life with for Jesus.

Be sure your kids have faithful grandparents -- their own or adopt some.

Get good role models in their life.  Older kids.  Teenagers and college age.  Help them find "their" elder.  Smart kids who love Jesus.  Musicians who love Jesus.  Athletes who love Jesus.  Cool kids who love Jesus.  Other parents who love Jesus.

So open your home for meals.  Or devotionals.  Have some people over.  Ask God to put people in their lives.

So here is my heartfelt thanks to all those families we have done life with,and all those teens and college kids who loved our kids.  And now our grands.  Thanks to faithful grandparents (and even great-grandparents) and extended family.

Be intentional about raising your kids in a generational faith community.

They will get it.

So thanks God for all your people who did life with us when we were raising Julie and Joe Don.  For those who know how important they were in shaping our kid's faith, and for those who had no idea.  Keep putting people in the lives of our five grands.  And help us all do that for the kids we do life with.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


My wife is having a birthday...

Marsha turns 63 tomorrow, April 6.  Here is why I love her and am proud of her.

She doesn't care if you know her age.  She is comfortable with who she is.  I guess it helps when you do not look -- or act -- your age.  But I love that does not have an age hang-up.

She is fanatical about following Jesus.  We are talking to a college girl tonight about following Jesus.  Marsha set it up.  Working with a couple tomorrow night.  Marsha stayed connected to the girl through thick and thin until they were ready to talk about Jesus.  She touches people for Jesus.  Teaches Bible class.  Hosts showers.  Prays.  And she is one of the really good people I know.  She would say that is because of Jesus.  She is right.

Great wife.  I cannot imagine where I would be without her.  She has been the calm in our storm for over 40 years.  She keeps me grounded and focused.  She reminds me what matters.  And she still laughs at my jokes.

Great Mom.  For Julie and Bobby.  For Joe Don and Jamie.  Prays for our kids.  Loves our kids.  Helps our kids.  Their biggest fan.  Speaks truth into their lives.

Awesome Mimi.  Cousin Camp every year is one of the all time great productions.  Family vacation is all her planning and execution.  She finds time for each one of our 5 grands.  She is fantastic about Christmas, b'days, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentines, and every other special day imaginable.  Supports their school activities and sports.  Prays all the time for them.

Loving daughter.  She is amazing with her parents.  Patient, helpful, supportive, and does for them so much they cannot do for themselves.  She is a true daughter to my Mom.  Calls, helps out, gives advice.

Amazing friend.  She has adopted daughters everywhere.  She is always available to talk to, cry with, laugh with, and give Godly advice for more women than I can count.

So happy birthday Mimi.  We hit the jackpot with you.

God, we are so blessed by Mimi.  Thank you for the gift of her love.  And we know that her love is just a reflection of your love.  Give her many more years to be about your business.   

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