Thursday, March 22, 2012

Paralysis By Analysis

Did you ever know someone who constantly out thinks the room? I have worked with people who were brilliant, but often their brain kept them from accomplishing goals. We can always find reasons to not act. We can always talk ourselves out of moving forward.

Golf is a very interesting game to me. Seems like most years when spring arrives I look forward to at least making it to the driving range. Without fail, I am eventually hitting at least a few decent shots my first day out. Then something happens almost like clock work. I start thinking of adjustments to improve my game. I begin to change my stance, how I grip the club, and how I swing. I become tense and have a million thoughts going through my head as I attempt to hit the ball. Thus begins the downhill spiral of my golf game for the year. Many call this paralysis by analysis.

We often do this with issues in life that are way more important. We wait for the stars to align before we act. Some want to be advanced in their career before having children. You will never arrive at the "perfect time" for children. I can't imagine having missed a house full of happiness waiting for the "perfect time".

Non-believers will want to straighten out their life before coming to Christ. In reality they need Christ to do the straightening. As Christians, we need to look for opportunities to serve God right where we are. We don't need to wait until our children are grown to serve more. Just as we shouldn't do less once we are retired. The sad fact remains, that while we find ourselves people are dying and going to Hell every single day. Our purpose on this earth is to be doers of the Word.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

As They Grow

March is a busy month for birthdays in our family. St. Patrick's Day is my twins birthday to cap off 4 celebrations for the month. I feel old as I reflect back on my children growing so fast. Our oldest is ten and will most likely be out of our house within a short decade. There is so much excitement knowing they will one day have their own families-their own babies to ooh and ahh over. It is exciting and also sad. I am in no hurry to be an empty nester.

In today's world we rarely take time to reflect. Why do we no longer see the value of unwinding and considering our completed day or week. There is so much to be learned from what we experience. We allow the "hurry up" attitude of modern day to cheat us out of this time. Time in which we learn to grow as Christians, husbands, and fathers.

As important as reflection can be, there is also a premium on realizing we have a short time to impact our young children. We need to reflect, but not get stuck on yesterday. The truth we teach today will impact generations of our family tree. That is very eye opening. Our roles as parents is an awesome responsibility we should take very seriously. It is not just parents with this influence. Imagine the impact grandparents can have on the values our kids will take forward.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Somebody once said they could survive a week on one compliment. There was a time I thought encouragement was unnecessary. I felt everyone should have enough drive within to be successful. I have now realized the importance of encouragement in the lives of others. Often it is the one element missing that keeps a friend or family member from prospering.

Husbands need to be the encourager our wifes' need. I have not been all I should be to boost the confidence of my wife. They deserve it and most importantly, they need it. I have noticed a confident mother is nearly unstoppable. This is twice as important with a homeschool mom. They are fighting an uphill battle from the start. The commitment to educate children in the home is mostly unaccepted outside of the immediate family. Often it is not supported by friends and extended family. Society thinks your kids are at home watching cartoons all day. This adds up to a lot of pressure for a homeschool mom and means they need us more than ever.

How important is encouragement to our children? It is vital in there development. We have seen this in extreme cases with foster children in our home. Many kids spirit have been severely defeated. It is visible in their body language. Within days of being constantly built up and loved the difference is noticeable. It is like watering a tomato plant and physically seeing the growth daily.

God intends us to lift each other up. Iron sharpeneth iron. It also helps get the focus away from self. Just think what a few positive words can mean to a new Christian or someone convicted about salvation. We clearly spend too much time on the negative. Think of those few people you know who always have something nice to say. Think of how they make you feel. Let's be that person for those we influence.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mine Eyes Have Seen

I have seen some crazy things in my life. I can remember one Sunday morning leaving home to see my niece perform in a church program. We didn't regularly attend church at that time and my wife was pregnant with our first child. We lived way out in the country where most roads are slightly wider than one lane. As we started up a steep hill I noticed a fire truck approaching. I then pulled our small pick-up truck to the right and came to a halt. As the heavy fire truck slowly passed us a portion of the blacktop broke free causing their right-side tires to come off the road. The top heavy vehicle began rolling down the hill in seemingly slow motion only stopping when it's progress was stopped by a couple of small trees. We were able to help most of the trapped firefighters out of the truck except for one whose leg was pinned. My wife went back home to find something to help dig him out. To this day, one of the funniest things I ever seen was my pregnant wife charging up the side of this mountain with her arms full of shovels and hair full of curlers. Some other rescue workers soon arrived and were able to free the young man. He was fortunate to only suffer a minor injury.

Looking back I think that day was a metaphor of what our life was about to become, chaos. Of course the chaos of today is the good kind-the kind that includes many blessings-the kind of chaos that comes with the sound of many little footsteps constantly moving through our house. That day also reminds me of all the times I see God answer prayer and can physically see the results.

I think back to when we decided to get involved in foster care. We already had 2 beautiful daughters and prayed we would someday adopt a son. People constantly told us the deck was stacked against us. You see, most new foster parents rarely get a baby placed in their home and if this rarity actually happens they certainly have almost no chance of ever adopting the baby. This all seems logical except for one thing. God is not limited to what seems logical in our small minds. We continued with the process of becoming legal foster parents and after we finished we waited for our first placement. We didn't have to wait very long. A few short short months later my wife came home with our first placement, or should I say placements. I can still remember her walking through the door with 6 week old twins, Christian and Samantha. The social workers warned us to not get attached because this is only a "temporary" placement. As I type this I am watching the twins complete their school work. They will be 6 next week and we have been blessed to adopt these beautiful kids. So many unlikely things had to work out for the twins to permanently join our family. What seemed to be the perfect storm of events in human terms, was a piece of cake for God.

God is always ready to bless us. He is waiting on obedience and belief. We need to "prepare our fields for rain" and expect that He will deliver.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Keep It Simple

I have never been accused of being the smartest person in the room. I don't think God planned for me to perform brain surgery. Knowing this, I try to keep things in the simplest form. I can still hear drill sergeants screaming "keep it simple stupid!" I am not equipped to understand what takes place to make my IPad function. Thankfully my wife can help me out. I am just grateful I can turn it on and check my email. I can already tell my kids will one day be smarter than me. Some think they already are.

Most of us find ways to complicate the things in our life. Our problems usually have a simple root cause and a simple solution. Just consider salvation. Very few Christians receive Christ the first time they hear the gospel. What could be simpler? It only requires acknowledgement and faith. Just as if someone is standing there holding a gift and all you have to do is take it. So simple, yet we find ways to make it complicated. We have trouble believing we can have something so wonderful without deserving or earning it.

What about getting our prayers answered? God longs for a personal relationship and cares about the many details of our life. So why would he not answer our prayers? I believe in most situations there are a few possible reasons. First of all, perhaps it is something that would distance us from him. He cares for us and knows what is best for our growth. How many times have we wanted something so much only to realize later we were better off without. Maybe at times He is answering with a no. Secondly, God may want us to eliminate sin before he chooses to bless us. It is generally no mystery what specific sin is keeping us from the Lord's favor. Other times we don't ask with confidence. Our weak faith is evident when we don't display an attitude of expectation. He wants to answer our prayers, but He also wants recognition that we believe He can. We are instructed to come boldly before the throne of grace.

If we keep this simple approach in our life we can avoid a lot of heartache. Instead of settling for "woe is me", we should look for the simple answers in the form of absolute truth. Sometimes we act as if we are content being miserable. This is very sad. The Christian life is meant to be victorious. When we sit in our self-pity we are wasting valuable time. Time that we could be influencing others.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Keep Moving

I believe every Christian knows their next step of spiritual growth. We don't know the details, but we have a general idea of what God expects next from us. He is just waiting on us to step out on faith and move forward. Maybe it's a commitment to reading our Bible more or progress in our prayer life. Perhaps it is sharing the gospel with others. No matter what the case, it is our responsibility to take that step.

If our children fail to develop physically it is cause for alarm. We expect our kids to be sitting up, walking, and talking within a specific time-frame. When these milestones are not met it often brings on panic and the need for investigation. The same panic should be present when we are standing still spiritually. This is true individually and as a family. I believe it all starts with knowing absolute truth. What does God expect the family to be? If we don't know truth to start with we cannot know how to step forward. The world today has a different idea about what is acceptable within the family. Fortunately, we can look to the Bible for truth. We can know with certainty we are to love God with all we have and to teach our children the same.

So where do we start? We can't focus on yesterday, we can only learn from it. Be mindful we can't always make big changes overnight. We can make the commitment and instantly start acting on that commitment. I believe progress is very important to God. He just wants you to trust him and keep moving, one foot in front of the other. If we are humble and pray with an attitude of expectation He will guide us. He just wants to be first in our life.

Whatever that next step is, it is time. It was time yesterday. We parents need to encourage our boys and girls to get in the habit of just continually saying yes to God. If we don't understand all His ways, just say yes. If the world disagrees, just say yes. If it is uncomfortable and seems difficult, just say yes. We should teach this and most importantly our children need to see it in our actions.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

You Were Chosen

Dads it is no accident where you are in life. God knew about your current situation long before you were you. He has a plan for you to lead and left you instruction on how to do it. It is easy to think we are in our current situation by default. You might feel as if you don't make enough money or haven't met the goals you set out to meet by now. A good father realizes he must put his family's needs ahead of himself.

We should display an attitude of thankfulness. While the task can be difficult at times, the rewards are many. Dads should be grateful God allows us the wonderful privilege of guiding our families. The opportunity is there to change lives for generations. What an honor to be a part of that. It is no accident. A clear perspective will show what He has for you. It is all in how a dad views his situation and how his vision lines up with the Lord's design for the family.

Recently I have been blessed to see God honor commitment in my family. It is in the spiritual growth of my wife and children. They seem to move closer to God every day. Fathers have to understand the responsibility lies with us and it is not a burden. The joy of this charge should put a smile on your face. Realize you were chosen to fulfill the role of father and husband. You didn't end up there. You were positioned there to allow God to accomplish great things through you.