Tag Archives: Family

Sideways

Recent events have turned my world sideways. Not stopped or upside-down, but sideways. As a minister I am no stranger to destruction or disease. I have consoled many through tough times. I have personally  faced them on occasion. But the passed few days grabbed my attention.

I would start with the current political situation in the United States and more specifically my home state, but then I would digress into a rant and  . . . well let’s just say I am not thrilled, happy, pleased, or hopeful about our nation at the moment.

I could also mention current issues of morality that are hot topics in our nation. But again, I would have way too much to say, and you likely know where I stand on those issues – or think you do.

My world is sideways for some personal reasons. Please indulge my personal message.

I have a dear friend (a member where I serve as minster and my “amen” corner) who is visiting family in Japan. I have a cousin and his family living in Japan as teachers and missionaries. Japan recently had earthquakes and aftershocks. Thankfully they are both safe and are a good distance away from the epicenter and suffered no damage. I have friends in Ecuador, again they suffered earthquakes. I have heard from many of them that they are all safe. Some shaken, but safe.  I even learned that some of these poor people are gathering supplies in Ecuador to send to the hardest hit regions.

Yesterday something even more personal struck and grabbed my attention. My younger

10457592_621156656250_8216987243847011345_n

l-r: Doug, Charles, Scott (me)

brother (Charles a.k.a. Chuck, Chaz, and Kermit) fainted at work and then had a seizure. Co-workers got him to the hospital – I presume they called for an ambulance. They found a tumor on his brain affecting the left side of his body.  He admitted to my parents and older brother that he had recently been suffering from some weakness on his left side. As of now, we do not know the nature of the tumor. He should know sometime today when a larger hospital will have him come for further evaluations and tests. My sister-in-law says he is resting well and is in good spirits about it. (Update – Charles expects to be at the hospital next week for biopsy, evaluations, recommendations and the next steps to recovery.)

 

My world is sideways, but my faith is strong. I thank God for the safety of my friends and family in Japan and Ecuador. I thank Him that they are in positions to help others recover from these disasters. I know you have friends and family in similar situations and that with God we can all have a peace that passes understanding. I know that no matter what lies ahead for my brother, his family, and our family together, that God is there with us, holding hands, and hearing prayers. I know that you and many others are praying for Charles, for his healing, and for those that will be taking care of him. We covet those prayers and thank you for them.

Today, the well known words of the psalmist seem more than appropriate,

Psalm 23
The Lord Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name ‘s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

 

-Scott

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Characteristics of a Can-Do Faith

beach 10-10-15This weekend Amy and I had the opportunity to do some things we have not done in a while.  After she finished teaching and getting everything together from School and after I finished up in the study, we left for my parents’ house in Florida. On Saturday we experienced a first for us –  a 7 to 9 year old girls soccer game. It was exciting. I do not know the score, I only know that my niece is good at using her body to protect the ball when she takes away on defense. After the game we went to my brother’s place for my niece’s 8th birthday party.

After the party, my brother’s family, my parents, along with Amy and I took a walk along the beach – not a long walk, we had to leave that evening – but a walk none-the-less and an opportunity for a few pictures. After supper we left for Montgomery to spend the night.

Sunday morning was unsusual for me. As a minister it is not often that I get to listen to other preachers on Sunday mornings. This particular Sunday, since we were traveling, we worshipped with Dalraida Church of Christ in Montgomery, Alabama.  This is where Andrew (our son) worships while he is a student at Faulkner University. It was good to sit in Dr. Terry Edwards’ class on John 3 and 4. It was good to worship with our extended church family. It was good to see folks we knew from when we were in college and others who live in Montgomery that were part of the congregation where we preached in Florida. Of course it was great to meet some of Andrew’s college and church friends. It was also good to hear a sermon from Doug Smith.

Here are my notes from his lesson (Central folks, you may hear this one . . .). I did not write down Doug’s title, so I came up with my own.

Characteristics of a Can-Do Faith – I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

  1. Be a SERVANT – All of life as a child of God emanates from this relationship. We are here to serve God and we serve God by serving others.
  2. Know the Great Cause – We are successful and happier when we serve a greater good – a cause greater than ourselves.  Our cause is building up the Kingdom of God. We are part of the GREATEST CAUSE on Earth – an eternal cause.
  3. Forget the Past – Consider Paul’s past. Obviously he did not completely forget his past or he would not bring it up in Phil 3:13 and other places.  He is saying that we cannot allow our past to keep us from doing what we can to for Christ today. Be forgiven for the past in Christ.
  4. Pay the Price – Things that are valuable in culture are not always valuable to us spiritually and are ultimately without value in the kingdom. Ask: What effort do I put into my spiritual growth? Does it compare with the effort I put into worldly efforts?
  5. Set the Right Example – Ask: What do people see in me? Does my example lead people closer too or further away from God?
  6. Work for Unity – Look not to your own interest, but the good of others.  Have the mind of Christ that humbly gave self to bring others (me and you) into unity with God. Unity does not just happen. Strive for it.
  7. Be Positive – Paul says, “I CAN Do . . .” The “all things” means all things in God’s will what He expects, what He commands, and is in service to Him. You and I CAN DO what God says to do.
  • Scott

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Parenting is a Ministry

Went through the archives and found this post.  Thought it was a good time to share it again.

The Ministry of Parenthood

There are a number of texts to speak about the role of parents: Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21, and Psalm 127:3 come to mind.11076261_10204996389362588_295757434754120591_n Then there are general verses about every Christian being a minister (servant): 1 Pet 4:10-11 Parenthood is such a ministry. We must give parents: Time to be good parents. Training to be good parents. And we must provide them motivation to be good ministers.  Below are some suggestions for the ministry of parenthood.

  1. Build Credibility  Your relationship with your children matters.  We should work alongside them (Neh 4:13-14) when working around the house or in the yard. We should make every effort to be at their events (sports).
  2. Think Long Term Parenting does not end when they no longer need diapers.  Parenting does not end when they starts school. Remember what Ruth said to Naomi and Christ to His followers, “I will not forsake you.” Children need the security of knowing their parents are there and will be. We should be available to your children as long as they need you, even if they forget they need you.
  3. Look at What They Can Become.  Thankfully God sees what we can be not what we are at any given moment. God is patient with you – pass it along: 2 Pet 3:9; 1 Ths 5:14.
  4. Teach them God’s Word  God designed families as an avenue to teach and grow faith – Deut  6:1-9.Point your children to Jesus – John 10:9 
  5. Pray – Continually! Paul says to “Pray without ceasing.” –1 Ths 5:17 Parenting cannot succeed without God. Pray for your child’s day, week, rest, and future.
  6. Challenge them to Grow Set educational goals. Set physical goals. Set spiritual goals. Do not forget that branches that do not grow (produce) are cut off the Vine – Jn 15:6.
  7. Model What you Teach Replace the old parental saying, “Do as I say, not as I do” with “Do as I do, as I teach.”  Consider Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 11:1. You children will be like you in many ways.
  8. Be Balanced Demonstrate love. Discipline fairly.  God is both severe and kind (Rom 11:22) so should we.
  9. Remember Your Responsibility to train them up in the way they should go – Prov 22:6.

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Teaching the Next Generaton

image via Crimson Confidential

image via Crimson Confidential (UA vs WV 2014)

Saturday, thanks to a friend, I had two tickets to the Home Opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Andrew was in town for the weekend do we had a father and son day as we watched Alabama take on Middle Tennessee. We were not the only father-son duo there.  Sitting a row behind us was a dad and his 9 year old son. They were dressed in Crimson and White, had shakers, Cokes, and popcorn.  I listened pre-game as this young father explained the traditions at Bryant-Denny. How the band was spelling BAMA and pointed out the Elephant that The Million Dollar Band made as Big Al lead them in Tusk.  This dad pointed out how everyone used their shakers during Sweet Home Alabama (Roll Tide Roll).

Then as the game got under way, this dad patiently explained why Alabama went “three and out” on their fist possession and then explained why they got the ball back after a fumble.  Every play, every possession, this dad shared the love of the game. It was a special day for this father-son duo.

As special as that day and those moments were for them, they were special to me as I sat next to my college freshman.  It does not seem that long ago that I took him to his first BAMA game sharing a my love of the game and of the band. Now he will be on the John-Mark Stallings Field at Falkner University, not playing football, but as a part of the Marching Eagle Band. I should mention that I am excited about their upcoming home game.

Yet, there is another event that I am thinking of.  One that plays out not just on a special Saturday in Fall, but one that plays out every Sunday – somewhere. I witnessed such an event recently.

A young family sat together during worship.  The youngest child is just reaching that age when they are curious about what they see their parents doing during worship.  The were about to join in the Lord’s Supper (Communion) and this little one asked why they were eating crackers? I could not hear what Mom or Dad said, but I heard them explaining.  The next question was about grape juice. I love witnessing families passing on what they love. I love watching them encourage their children to sing with the congregation. I love seeing families teaching their children about God and the Church so that when the children mature, they can make a decision about faith for themselves.

God always planned for parents to teach their children lessons of faith. In Joshua 4 the Israelites set up stones where they crossed the Jordan as God command them. Joshua explained why, “And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.” (Jos 4:21-22).

We are quick to pass along our love of football, baseball, music, good food, cars, hunting, fishing, and family traditions. May we be just as faithful at teaching our children about God, Christ, the Spirit, Christ’s Church, and the Faith.

  • Scott

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Summertime

The school year is almost over.  I can hear the students and teachers sigh relief and I think I heard some shouts of joyful celebration. As you look for things to do this summer, as you take vacations, don’t forget about God. As a child of God remember that Christ is your life (Colossians 3:1-4) keep centered on Him.  As you travel take time to visit with the Church where you are.  You will encourage the congregation you visit and you will be encouraged by being there.

Take time this summer for activities specifically focused on God and Christ. Attend a VBS (Vacation Bible School, Family Bible School, or Weekend Bible School – there are so many differs names for VBS now). If you are in or near Tuscaloosa County, Alabama come check out the VBS Central and Northport churches of Christ are hosting together.

Into the Wild with Moses June 22-24, 2015

Into the Wild with Moses
June 22-24, 2015

You can also take time to spend a week at Christian Camp: ICYC (Indian Creek Youth Camp) is close to us physically and close to our heart.

icyc

Have a great summer!

– Scott

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Ten Things to Do this Summer

Summer is rapidly approaching and you are making your family plans.  Here is a list of ten things you can do as a family this 11076261_10204996389362588_295757434754120591_nsummer.

  1. Travel together.  You do not have to go far. You can travel a couple of hours and take in new sights. Within that distance form us there is American Village that recreates colonial America, or a couple of lakes for boating or swimming, some historic towns, historic iron works, waterfalls, and national forests.
  2. Eat together.  Take a picnic to a park. Go to different restaurant. Gather around the family table and tell stories about when you were growing up.
  3. Visit a Summer Carnival or Amusement Park together.  Ride roller-coasters, swings, haunted houses, take in a show, laugh and enjoy these things together.
  4. Laugh together.  Find an old slapstick comedy or clean parody to watch together. See ho many knock-knock jokes ou can remember or make up.  JUST LAUGH!
  5. Go to community events together.  Summertime brings art festivals, music festivals, pet days, town days (Around here there is Kansas Day, Berry Heritage Day, Mule Day, etc. When I lived in Florida there was the Mullet Festival the fish not the hair style.) Take in the family events of these special days and weekends.
  6. Walk together.  Walk in the early morning before it gets to hot. Or walk in the late evening while the sun is just setting. Walk the neighborhood, walk in the community park. Not only are you getting some exercise, you are in each other’s company.
  7. Have devotionals together.  Take time to sing, pray, and study together in the family room.  If you are on vacation have devotionals in your hotel, condo, resort room, camper or tent. There will be some great discussions about Christian living that will take place in those rooms.
  8. Worship together.  Spend Sunday and Wednesdays gathering with Christians as you worship. When you are on vacation, make time to worship with Christians in the area you are visiting. You will encourage them and they will encourage you.
  9. Talk together.  Those walks, meals, and hours of standing in line at amusement parks gives ample opportunity to talk. So do the car rides as you travel.  Talk together.
  10. Spend TIME TOGETHER.  Really that is what the whole idea of this post is – time together.  Make the most of the time.  Build relationships and create memories by simply being together.

Have a great FAMILY SUMMER!

– Scott

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Parenting God’s Way

Take a look at today’s headlines and you will read about children and drug abuse. You will read about teen alcohol abuse, and you will read about violence in the youth culture. Municipalities create stricter laws, increase law enforcement presence, and establish curfews, but the abuse and violence continues.  What is the answer? How can we curb this societal trend? I believe the answer lies close to home, specifically the home. Home is the way to solve many of society’s ills. Looking back through Biblical history and we see that Israel fell because of a lack of influence at home or a lack of respect at home: Judges 2:10, “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.”

I hear parents and grandparents say, “Children don’t come with instructions.”  I beg to differ! There is an instruction manual, composed by our Creator. Parenting done right is parenting God’s way.

  1. Prepare to Parent. Be who you should be before you parent. God chose Mary and Joseph because they prepared. Joseph a just and righteous man (Matt 1:19). Mary found favor in God’s eyes (Luk 1:28-30). Preparation includes preparing your children for life. This life preparation starts with training – disciplining your children. Discipline includes correction, Pro 29:15-17, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. When the wicked increase, transgression increases, but the righteous will look upon their downfall. Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.”  Dicipline includes education, including physical, classical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual education. Pro 4:1-4, “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.”
  2. Pattern as Parents. Teaching is imperative, but an example gives teaching substance. Timothy’s mother and grandmother lived faith in his presence, (2Ti 1:5). “Do as I say not as I do” will not work. It is inconsistent to teach children not to lie, but lie to them about punishment or tell them to lie to caller asking to speak to you. It is inconsistent to teach them not to do drugs, but have your “adult beverages” or a tobacco dependency. Our children do not need “excuses” to sin. We must be diligent to “practice what we preach.”
  3. Persistent Parenting. Stay with God’s plan! Pro 22:6 famously states, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” That statement is a generally observable rule. There are exceptions, but we are more likely to raise responsible adults when we are persistent in out parenting. We do not stop being a parent! I read this recently, “When I was 14 my dad was ignorant and an embarrassment. When I was 21 it was amazing how much he learned in 7 years.” There is a lot of truth to that sentiment. Our children need us to parent not to simply be a friend.
  4. Pray as a Parent. “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phi 4:5-7. Pray for your children before they are born. Pray for them while they are young. Pray for their future (spouse, job, children, etc.). Pray while they are still at home. Pray for them as they leave. Pray they will remain faithful. Pray they will return if they stray. Without ceasing PRAY.

Start Now! It is not too late!

-Scott

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