All posts filed under: Family

Parenting For the Good

Recently I noticed a shirt advertised on social media emblazoned with the quote “Mommin’ Ain’t Easy.” The first time I saw it I laughed out loud, because I can totally relate. Being a mom is not easy for a million different reasons. Some of those reasons are funny and others are much more serious. The underlying commonality behind those reasons is that they all must be endured. When you’re a parent, quitting isn’t exactly an option. A few months ago I ran my first half-marathon. It required a lot of mental and physical endurance. I had to endure heat, fatigue, and physical pain. It was hard! However, one of the things that helped the most was to focus on the end. I was going to finish one way or another even though at times it seemed like I may not ever see that finish line. Isn’t parenting like that? We know there’s a goal… a finish line so to speak. But oh my goodness, when you’re trying to convince your toddler that his burrito is not “too …

Serving Our Families

During this season, our families get together and eat, exchange gifts, share and, if you have an aunt like mine, enjoy one to many glasses of wine well before the party even starts. My grandmother partakes in the wine consumption as well. She’s 92; it’s funny! But for some, gathering with our family creates great tension, emotional stress, and unresolved pain. Why? Because at some level, we all have a disposition that works against the Gospel story and it effects our families. For you, it could be a father who had been drunk most of your life, or a mother’s addicted to pain medications. There could be traces of adultery that still linger in the air, or clear marks made in the sand with a sibling who has chosen a different path. I believe as followers of Jesus, we have a very distinct role in our family, a role that only can be played out by choosing the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 5:8, “But those who won’t care for …

3 Ways to Focus on God’s Presence this Christmas

If you’re like most people alive today, Christmas is a scheduling nightmare with parties, pageants, purchasing of presents, and preparing pastries. You know that Christmas should be a time of prayer, peace, and the presence of God but every year seems to become more and more busy. This year, let’s prepare for Christmas the right way by stepping into the presence of God. Here are 3 ways to focus on God’s presence this Christmas. 1. Prepare your heart by focusing on God’s Word. This year, why not start a tradition of reading the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus in Scripture? There are many ways to do this. You can simply open up your Bible and read these passages: Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-38, and Luke 2:1-20. Or maybe you want to start a Christmas reading plan using the YouVersion Bible App. Or maybe you want to gather your kids around and check out the Christmas story in the Bible App for Kids. Each day’s video teaches a memory verse or a key truth using music, movement, and other concrete …

The New Normal: 3 Tips for Parents

Is your family crazy or normal? “Normal.” What does that even mean in the context of family? Is it normal to grow up in the church with parents who you never see argue? To have a dad who never drank and a mom who was always there?  What if normal is fathers who drink and mothers who don’t discipline their children? What if normal is divorced families or kids who are raised by grandmothers and grandfathers? There is danger in comparing your family to what’s “normal.”  Today, I believe parents struggle to raise their kids with all that is trying to win the attention of their child. Parents have to work at being the number one influence or, what I call, the determining voice in the lives of their kids. It’s overwhelming at times and parents often feel alone and, as your kid would say, “The struggle is real.” I’d like to share with you 3 things that you can do as a parent to help ensure that you are the lead influence in your child’s life. Be present. Just like our …

Your Kid Isn’t Perfect

I have been a mom for all of 5 years, 10 months, and 21 days. I graduated from college in less time than that, so you’d think I would have learned quite a bit by now. The truth is, in the time I’ve been a parent all I’ve really learned is that I still have no idea what I’m doing. Before I had children, I remember talking with a good friend about her own children. She said something that has always stuck with me: I don’t need my children to be the smartest or most popular kid in their class. I’m ok if they don’t make the honor roll or win awards. I just want them to love others and be kind. That was such a profound statement and I decided that I wanted to believe that statement for my own children one day. Now that I actually do have children…it’s MUCH easier said than done. In his Bible study “Raising Children Without Raising Your Blood Pressure,” pastor Rick Warren makes the statement: Kids are not things to be …

Behold the Digital Device

– written by Chris Carnes John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud at the National Consumers League, commissioned a study in 2012 that found nearly 60% of parents offered cell phones to their children at ages 10 or 11. With the advent of Wi-Fi and LTE, televisions, computers, tablets, and smartphones are merging into one platform. This mergence also marks a divide between what is known as digital immigrants (those born before the advent of these technologies) and digital natives (those born after the advent of these technologies). Digital natives are clearly at the leading edge of grasping these new connected platforms, as well as social media sites where 81% of their generation is on Facebook. Cyberspace is clearly overtaking the “hours spent” away from television and reinvesting these hours to connected devices. Digital natives ages 8 to 18 spend on average 44.5 hours per week in front of screens (Too Much Time Online, 2015).  With the above mentioned technologies and even faster “broadband hungry” technologies on the horizon, we are seeing accessibility …

The Father’s Love

I love lions. It may have a little to do with the fact that my alma mater’s mascot is a lion, but also I enjoy the Chronicles of Narnia, National Geographic, and the overwhelming similarities that God and lions share. Lions are fierce, brave, powerful, dangerous, mighty, and supreme.  But they are also protective, corrective, gentle, loving, and affectionate.  This is a perfect example of how God the Father’s love manifests itself in our lives. Our Heavenly Father is fierce, brave, powerful, dangerous, mighty, and supreme.  But He is also protective, corrective, gentle, loving, and affectionate.  As men, as earthly fathers, God shows us how to use both fierce correction and gentle affection in our parenting. Far too often, I see fathers miss the mark in administering discipline to their children.  On one extreme, fathers withhold correction because they are afraid to hurt their kids feelings and be hated by their kids. On the other extreme, I see dads dish out discipline harshly with no explanation to the child of why. Fathers, both extremes are bad parenting …

The Price of Parenting

Today is Mother’s Day… and at Southern Hills, that also means Family Dedication Sunday. This has always been one of my favorite events, because nothing excites me more than families making the decision to intentionally shepherd their children. When parents choose to begin creating a legacy of faith to pass down to the next generation, THAT is a big deal! This year, the Children’s Ministry Team decided to incorporate a new element into our Family Dedication service. We presented each family with a jar containing exactly 936 pennies. That’s $9.36. And it’s what I’ve come to realize is the “price” of parenting. Each penny represents one of the weeks a parent has between the day a child is born and when they graduate from high school.  As a parent, no matter where you are in the journey, how will you make the time count? A jar filled with 936 pennies is heavy. And, to be honest, so is the weight of parenting. The responsibility of raising Godly children can be overwhelming. Personally, I feel even more overwhelmed when I look at the …

Social Media is the New Parent

A few months ago, a mentor of mine said something that I believed was extremely profound, “This is the first generation that will not learn from their parents.”  Leaving his house for a 2 hour drive home, I grappled with that statement.  I kept thinking about the students at Southern Hills and student culture as a whole. My mind kept going to parents and the calling that is on their life to disciple their children. I was flooded with emotions. “This is the first generation that will not learn from their parents.”  The weight of this statement is deeply significant and deserves attention. Teenagers, our children, are gathering data while online and through social media to determine truth. The data they are getting is rarely filtered and typically insufficient. Nielsen, a consumer watch group, recently shared this research concerning teens and social media, “Connected youths aged 2-15 years are spending an average of 11.5 hours with the Internet each week, increasing three-fold since 2007. And the older they become, the more time they spend online. Teens …

Say “No” to Say “Yes”

These past few weeks, we’ve been focusing on what it looks like to be the bride of Christ.  Keith did an incredible job this past Sunday describing what we have to look forward to in eternity as His bride.  What an amazing gift we have been given, to be in the presence of the Father, the way that He intended it to be before the beginning of time! I cannot wait until the day I stand before the Father and hear the words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:23: “Well done good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness.” (NIV) My question to you for this week is simply this: Are you being faithful today in the few things?  God has given us time, resources, and relationships.  How we manage these gifts has an eternal impact. Jesus told His followers in Matthew 16:24-25, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, …