Author: Joe Bradley

Are You Disciplining to Punish or Teach?

About three years ago I wrote about how I use a belt to raise my kids. Since then, we’ve added two more kids to our family. I thought it was time to see how this practice has been working. In the post, I talked about how my children see how I am dressed physically and spiritually. Are they watching me put on my best? Am I leading by example? Like any parent will tell you, this is only one part of being a parent. You could model perfectly how to be an outstanding citizen or loving Christian and your kids will still be jerks at times. (Yes, I said my kids can be jerks and I stand by that statement.) I love my kids and, for the most part, they are really good kids, but they are human too and make mistakes. Discipline can be a difficult subject to talk about. Some parents lean to the strict side of discipline while others are more lax. But the Bible is very clear in that we should …

Questioning Your Purpose? Get a New Perspective.

Our purpose in life seems to be a question everyone at some time in their life must ask. While it’s a great question, I think the answer people are looking for is not right. Or perhaps we are looking at the question wrong.  Melissa and I sure were 3 years ago. One Wednesday night when our church still met at the chicken farms, Melissa texted me to come to the preschool area of our facility. This was the first time she told me about Hailey. Oh, how to describe Hailey? She has an infectious smile, and a carefree attitude that surpasses reason. She’s also been through a lot more than I could ever image. Hailey had just entered into the foster system and was staying with Melissa and Steven Beam.  But I remember my Melissa, in her own way, basically telling me we would be adopting Hailey. It took me a little longer to get used to the idea of adoption, but I finally understood what we needed to do. We signed up to start …

Looking For Joy Won’t Make You Happy

I live out in the country, down a dirt road and then a little farther. I grew up here and I have a lot of history here. My grandparents’ parents bought this land and used to run a mill from the creek that runs through our property. I would spend hours playing in the woods and splashing in the creek. I always noticed the trees next to the creek were much bigger and sturdier than any others on our land. And it’s something that’s still true today. As an adult, it is very easy to see why. The trees next to the creek have a steady, never ending supply of water. All throughout history people have settled around rivers and lakes to have easy access to one of the most vital things: water. It’s no wonder, then, that God would use this as a metaphor for growth in our spiritual lives as well. Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners or join in …

You Can Overcome Disabling Fear

Fear as a primary motivator never really works out the way we want things to. In one of my earlier blogs, I talked about how we should not be ashamed of our fears. Let me tell you about a time fear gripped me. When I was in nursing school I was taken out of my element. I drove to Northside hospital to start my mother-baby rotation. As part of this rotation, I was to be a part of the gross birthing process miracle of childbirth. On this particular night, my first night on the job, I had just been traumatized amazed by my first birth. Afterwards, my instructor immediately ushered me into the next room with the next baby waiting. At this point, my mind had gone to another place. When I walked into the next room I was just standing there like a kindergartner in right field; I was picking flowers in my mind. In my distracted state, I never noticed what someone was handing to me. The baby. Someone handed me the dirty, …

Do You Have a Faith That Works?

What does it mean when we say, “Love does?” Or when we say, “Faith without works is dead?” Doesn’t God give us our salvation as a gift? Yes, He does! But we aren’t supposed to keep it to ourselves. One of the most frustrating things to hear in our house is when playing suddenly becomes tears and someone yells, “I’m sorry!” The door flies with open one child trying to muster uo the best tears he can while the other is continuously yelling in his ear, “I said I’m sorry!” The whole while you are preparing to hear all the arguments and decree your judgement. I don’t know if it’s ever happened in your house but inevitably when the consequences are given the offender incredulously looks at you and repeats again, “but I said I’m sorry.” The problem most kids don’t understand is saying the words is only the first step. The next step is showing you are sorry. Let’s put it another way. When Melissa or I are disciplining our kids usually they will …

What Do You Know? Let’s Do Something!

A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool. -Joseph Roux Growing up, G.I. Joe was one of my favorite shows. Partly it was because my name is Joe and I thought somehow I would be able to become one just based on my name.  And, sadly, I’m still waiting for the call. But I do remember watching the cartoons and watching all the Joes fight against Cobra Commander.  After they inevitably won every episode it would always end with the tag “and knowing is half the battle!” Growing up, knowing was the priority for me. I needed to understand why something was important before it became important to me. Knowing was the first step and once I understood, then I would act. I still like to extensively study something and know every possible piece of information about it before I act. I usually live my life by two poignant statements: “Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.” – George V. Higgins …

It’s a Beautiful Day in This Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor, Would you be mine? Could you be mine? It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood, A neighborly day for a beauty, Would you be mine? Could you be mine? I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you, I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you. So let’s make the most of this beautiful day, Since we’re together, we might as well say, Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t you please, Won’t you please, Please won’t you be my neighbor? Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was an amazing show. How many times growing up did you watch his show and honestly think this amazing man actually wanted to be your friend? Now, granted, at that age we believed many things that could never actually happen. But I’d like to think this man was different. There was something truly special about him. And there was something special about him. Not only could he …

When Is The Right Time For Christmas Music?

Every year around this time the same thing happens.  Social media blows up with multiple rants. “It’s not right!” “It’s too early” “Why does it keep happening earlier and earlier every year!?” The age-old fight about Christmas music. Seriously, though, when are we supposed to start playing it?  Can we start when Christmas decorations hit the store shelves? Can we start when the weather cools down?  Do we have to wait until after Thanksgiving or even until the first day of December? My opinion? I don’t care. Seriously, it doesn’t matter one bit to me. I personally love Christmas music. I have a playlist on my Google music app (honestly, I have two different Christmas playlists) and I start playing them the hint Christmas comes around. Think back to the first Christmas… Jesus was born, our Savior came in the flesh to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins.  What was the “Christmas music” to herald His arrival? John the Baptist. And there were some arguments about the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth as well …

Why do you give what you give?

In the Old Testament, there were actually many different tithes required under the law. A tithe is 10% of something.  There was a tithe to the Levites, a tithe for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land. After Jesus’ death and fulfillment of the law, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16:2 that monetary gifts should be collected at the first of the week.  Nowhere in the New Testament does it specifically state how much we are to give. But time and time again it does imply that we are to give: individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionally to our income. The biggest problem most people have is that we want someone to tell us exactly how much God wants us to give, when to give it, and how it’s supposed to be given. I want to do exactly what I’m supposed to: no more, no less. I want to know what it takes to keep God happy and prevent Him from smiting me. But God doesn’t really work that …

Revisiting What the Time of Remembrance Represents

The night before Jesus was to endure suffering and humiliation for all of mankind, He sat down with His disciples to share in the Passover (Pesach). This is one of three major holidays in Jewish customs. The Passover is to remember what God did for the children of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. Its purpose is to remind the Israelites of the final plague when the angel of death passed over their firstborn and cemented their release from captivity from the Pharaoh (see Exodus 12). During Passover, Jesus took a loaf of bread and gave thanks to God. When He broke the bread, Jesus said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Then He took a cup of wine and said “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people — an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” (Luke 22:19-20). After they finished eating, they sang a hymn and then went out into the …