Wisdom For Parents in Communicating With Your Child

Child playing at the Beach

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE

If a child lives with criticism, she learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, she learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear, she learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity, she learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with jealousy, she learns to feel guilty

If a child lives with encouragement, she learns to be self-confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,she learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise, she learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance, she learns to love.

If a child lives with approval, she learns to like herself.

If a child lives with recognition, she learns to have a goal.

If a child lives with fairness, she learns what justice is.

If a child lives with honesty, she learns what truth is.

If a child lives with sincerity, she learns to have faith in herself, and those around her.

If a child lives with love, she learns that the world is a wonderful place to live.

– Dorothy Law Nolte

John Piper – 12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child

suffering image man with hand over head

Many parents are brokenhearted and completely baffled by their unbelieving son or daughter. They have no clue why the child they raised well is making such awful, destructive decisions. I’ve never been one of these parents, but I have been one of these sons. Reflecting back on that experience, I offer these suggestions to help you reach out to your wayward child.

1. Point them to Christ.

Your rebellious child’s real problem is not drugs or sex or cigarettes or pornography or laziness or crime or cussing or slovenliness or homosexuality or being in a punk rock band. The real problem is that they don’t see Jesus clearly. The best thing you can do for them—and the only reason to do any of the following suggestions—is to show them Christ. It is not a simple or immediate process, but the sins in their life that distress you and destroy them will only begin to fade away when they see Jesus more like he actually is.

2. Pray.

Only God can save your son or daughter, so keep on asking that he will display himself to them in a way they can’t resist worshiping him for.

3. Acknowledge that something is wrong.

If your daughter rejects Jesus, don’t pretend everything is fine.

For every unbelieving child, the details will be different. Each one will require parents to reach out in unique ways. Never acceptable, however, is not reaching out at all. If your child is an unbeliever, don’t ignore it. Holidays might be easier, but eternity won’t be.

4. Don’t expect them to be Christ-like.

If your son is not a Christian, he’s not going to act like one.

You know that he has forsaken the faith, so don’t expect him to live by the standards you raised him with. For example, you might be tempted to say, “I know you’re struggling with believing in Jesus, but can’t you at least admit that getting wasted every day is sin?”

If he’s struggling to believe in Jesus, then there is very little significance in admitting that drunkenness is wrong. You want to protect him, yes. But his unbelief is the most dangerous problem—not partying. No matter how your child’s unbelief exemplifies itself in his behavior, always be sure to focus more on the heart’s sickness than its symptoms.

5. Welcome them home.

Because the deepest concern is not your child’s actions, but his heart, don’t create too many requirements for coming home. If he has any inkling to be with you, it is God giving you a chance to love him back to Jesus. Obviously there are some instances in which parents must give ultimatums: “Don’t come to this house if you are…” But these will be rare. Don’t lessen the likelihood of an opportunity to be with your child by too many rules.

If your daughter smells like weed or an ashtray, spray her jacket with Febreze and change the sheets when she leaves, but let her come home. If you find out she’s pregnant, then buy her folic acid, take her to her twenty-week ultrasound, protect her from Planned Parenthood, and by all means let her come home. If your son is broke because he spent all the money you lent him on loose women and ritzy liquor, then forgive his debt as you’ve been forgiven, don’t give him any more money, and let him come home. If he hasn’t been around for a week and a half because he’s been staying at his girlfriend’s—or boyfriend’s—apartment, plead with him not to go back, and let him come home.

6. Plead with them more than you rebuke them.

Be gentle in your disappointment.

What really concerns you is that your child is destroying herself, not that she’s breaking rules. Treat her in a way that makes this clear. She probably knows—especially if she was raised as a Christian—that what she’s doing is wrong. And she definitely knows you think it is. So she doesn’t need this pointed out. She needs to see how you are going to react to her evil. Your gentle forbearance and sorrowful hope will show her that you really do trust Jesus.

Her conscience can condemn her by itself. Parents ought to stand kindly and firmly, always living in the hope that they want their child to return to.

7. Connect them to believers who have better access to them.

There are two kinds of access that you may not have to your child: geographical and relational. If your wayward son lives far away, try to find a solid believer in his area and ask him to contact your son. This may seem nosy or stupid or embarrassing to him, but it’s worth it—especially if the believer you find can also relate to your son emotionally in a way you can’t.

Relational distance will also be a side effect of your child leaving the faith, so your relationship will be tenuous and should be protected if at all possible. But hard rebuke is still necessary.

This is where another believer who has emotional access to your son may be very helpful. If there is a believer who your son trusts and perhaps even enjoys being around, then that believer has a platform to tell your son—in a way he may actually pay attention to—that he’s being an idiot. This may sound harsh, but it’s a news flash we all need from time to time, and people we trust are usually the only ones who can package a painful rebuke so that it is a gift to us.

A lot of rebellious kids would do well to hear that they’re being fools—and it is rare that this can helpfully be pointed out by their parents—so try to keep other Christians in your kids lives.

8. Respect their friends.

Honor your wayward child in the same way you’d honor any other unbeliever. They may run with crowds you’d never consider talking to or even looking at, but they are your child’s friends. Respect that—even if the relationship is founded on sin. They’re bad for your son, yes. But he’s bad for them, too. Nothing will be solved by making it perfectly evident that you don’t like who he’s hanging around with.

When your son shows up for a family birthday celebration with another girlfriend—one you’ve never seen before and probably won’t see again—be hospitable. She’s also someone’s wayward child, and she needs Jesus, too.

9. Email them.

Praise God for technology that lets you stay in your kids’ lives so easily!

When you read something in the Bible that encourages you and helps you love Jesus more, write it up in a couple lines and send it to your child. The best exhortation for them is positive examples of Christ’s joy in your own life.

Don’t stress out when you’re composing these as if each one needs to be singularly powerful. Just whip them out one after another, and let the cumulative effect of your satisfaction in God gather up in your child’s inbox. God’s word is never proclaimed in vain.

10. Take them to lunch.

If possible, don’t let your only interaction with your child be electronic. Get together with him face to face if you can. You may think this is stressful and uncomfortable, but trust me that it’s far worse to be in the child’s shoes—he is experiencing all the same discomfort, but compounded by guilt. So if he is willing to get together with you for lunch, praise God, and use the opportunity.

It will feel almost hypocritical to talk about his daily life, since what you really care about is his eternal life, but try to anyway. He needs to know you care about all of him. Then, before lunch is over, pray that the Lord will give you the gumption to ask about his soul. You don’t know how he’ll respond.  Will he roll his eyes like you’re an idiot? Will he get mad and leave? Or has God been working in him since you talked last? You don’t know until you risk asking.

(Here’s a note to parents of younger children: Set up regular times to go out to eat with your kids. Not only will this be valuable for its own sake, but also, if they ever enter a season of rebellion, the tradition of meeting with them will already be in place and it won’t feel weird to ask them out to lunch. If a son has been eating out on Saturdays with his dad since he was a tot, it will be much harder for him later in life to say no to his father’s invitation—even as a surly nineteen-year-old.)

11. Take an interest in their pursuits.

Odds are that if your daughter is purposefully rejecting Christ, then the way she spends her time will probably disappoint you. Nevertheless, find the value in her interests, if possible, and encourage her. You went to her school plays and soccer games when she was ten; what can you do now that she’s twenty to show that you still really care about her interests?

Jesus spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes, and he wasn’t even related to them. Imitate Christ by being the kind of parent who will put some earplugs in your pocket and head downtown to that dank little nightclub where your daughter’s CD release show is. Encourage her and never stop praying that she will begin to use her gifts for Jesus’ glory instead her own.

12. Point them to Christ.

This can’t be over-stressed. It is the whole point. No strategy for reaching your son or daughter will have any lasting effect if the underlying goal isn’t to help them know Jesus.

Jesus.

It’s not so that they will be good kids again; it’s not so that they’ll get their hair cut and start taking showers; it’s not so that they’ll like classical music instead of deathcore; it’s not so that you can stop being embarrassed at your weekly Bible study; it’s not so that they’ll vote conservative again by the next election; it’s not even so that you can sleep at night, knowing they’re not going to hell.

The only ultimate reason to pray for them, welcome them, plead with them, email them, eat with them, or take an interest in their interests is so that their eyes will be opened to Christ.

And not only is he the only point—he’s the only hope. When they see the wonder of Jesus, satisfaction will be redefined. He will replace the pathetic vanity of the money, or the praise of man, or the high, or the orgasm that they are staking their eternities on right now. Only his grace can draw them from their perilous pursuits and bind them safely to himself—captive, but satisfied.

He will do this for many. Be faithful and don’t give up.

©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. May 9, 2007 ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

Dr David P. Craig on the Question: “Am I Pastor or a Life Coach?”

Answer: “I’m a Pastoral Life Coach”

About the picture above: From the left [me] David P. Craig; in the middle – my uncle Enrique – the brother of my mother – and a faithful disciple and evangelist of Jesus, and on the right, a church member named Jorge. I had just preached on what family relationships from Ephesians 5 :22 -6:4 look like when Christ is at the center of them. It was a tremendous honor to preach in Spanish with several family members present on my mother’s side. My family has a long history of church involvement – planting; preaching; and service in Quilmes – a large city in a suburb of Buenos Aires. I had just returned from a week of training pastors in the Northern part of Argentina – Jujuy; and was about to do some training with some young church leaders at A Christian Camp Facility in Buenos Aires.

In January of 2006 I had returned from a trip to South America to train pastors and missionaries (almost all of them were bi-vocational; in the Province of Jujuy on the Northern Argentinean and Southern Bolivian border. I have been on such trips in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and many times in Argentina (the land of my roots – My parents were born there and I have adopted many of their customs – especially drinking an Argentine tea called “mate;” becoming a soccer fanatic – especially of River Plate and Quilmes, and of course their national team (Messi is the Best!); and loving all foods Argentine – especially “asados” with “entrana” and chorizos; empanadas, bocadillos, tortilla, and gnocchi. I also grew up learning “Castellano” – the Italian sounding Spanish of the Argentines – full of slang – they have a unique word, phrase, or idiom for everything!

Both of my grandfathers were preachers. My dad’s father – John Craig (my youngest son, Johnny aged 16, is named after him) – was a Plymouth Brethren missionary who was born in Belfast, Ireland and spent over 50 years in Argentina and Uruguay planting churches, being an itinerant preacher, and making disciples (I’ve spoken in parts of Argentina where people have told me that my grandfather led them to the Lord and discipled them – it always brings me to tears of joy). John Craig died at the age of 86 and he was still pastoring a church in the Province of Tucuman in Argentina shortly before his promotion to Heaven.

My mom’s dad – Saul Moreira (of Portuguese heritage) was a beloved Bible teacher and expositor of the Bible. Everyone loved to hear “Don Saul” teach – children, co-workers, and the various “Hermanos Libres” churches in and around Quilmes – a large suburb of Buenos Aires  La Boca is most famous for the “Boca Juniors Football Club” and the dance known worldwide as the “Tango.”

About the picture above: My Grandfather – Saul Moreira – was one of the project supervisors of the building of the bridge pictured above “Puente Transborador” – built in 1914 is one of the most recognized bridges in all of South America. The Bridge is located in what many consider the heart of Buenos Aires – “La Boca.” The La Boca neighborhood was so named for its position at “the mouth” of the Riachuelo, and its role as the port of call for thousands of immigrants from Italy, Spain, and other European countries in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. It’s within walking distance from of the birth of the “Tango” in El Caminito, and the home of the famous Boca Juniors Football Club).

When I was 17 years old (almost the age of my youngest son) I was a soccer, football, basketball, and baseball FANATIC! On any given day you would see me with a ball in competition depending on the season – I was fiercely seeking a victory in one of these sports. Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s in Huntington Beach, CA., I was a diehard Laker fan (during the Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird era); a HUGE Dodger fan -during the Dodgers vs. Cincinnati Red Machine; when the St. Louis Rams were the L.A. Rams and played in Anaheim; and the L.A. Galaxy didn’t exist and we had season tickets for the L.A Aztecs. I still vividly recall going to the L.A. Coliseum and witnessing the amazing offensive and defensive skills of some of the best players in world soccer history – Johann Cruyff, Pele, and Franz Beckenbauer.

About the picture above: My room in Huntington Beach in 1975.  I was ten years old and already a sports fanatic. Notice the Rams (in L.A. back then) souvenirs on the left and the Los Angeles Dodgers souvenirs on the right. There is a 10th Anniversary Houston “Astrodome” pennant on my desk, and I’m reading a baseball world series magazine from 1975. I still love the Dodgers; wear Hawaiian shirts; but prefer the San Diego Chargers to those “traders” – the St. Louis Rams.

In my junior year of High School I was involved in a serious car accident. My best friend at the time was driving his Jeep and we were cut off by a drunk driver after the first day of baseball season my junior year. My dad and mom were on a business trip in Europe at the time. My older sister and the great staff at the hospital in Fountain Valley took terrific care of me. I suffered numerous broken ribs, bones, and had a lot of stitches in my head. I can remember shaking in bed at the hospital for a week straight and had a migraine headache for the next three months that subsided gradually so I could take catnaps here and there.

It was during that time that I received my calling to the ministry. Up until that year I was dreaming of either being a pro soccer or baseball player. Before the car accident I made my decision to focus on baseball and have a terrific junior season at Liberty Christian High School in Huntington Beach. I had dreamed about being a Los Angeles Dodger with the goal of taking over Bill Russell’s job at shortstop  The reality is I was a good baseball player, but not “great.”  I think if I had focused on being great at one sport instead of being “good” at four sports – I would have had a chance to make the pros (I ended up playing soccer in college for 3 years in Portland).

About the picture above. From about 1975 to 1980 my family would get about 20-30 games of season tickets during some of the Dodgers best years. The first Dodger game I went to was in 1974 and Ron Cey “The Penguin” hit a home run against the New York Mets to win the game in the 9th inning. I was imediately hooked on the Dodgers.Here is a picture of the “Fabulous Four: Ron Cey – 3B; Davey Lopes – 2B; Bill Russell – SS; and Steve Garvey – 1B.

I missed all of baseball season my junior year. During that summer – I started thinking more seriously about my life.  I had been a disciple of Jesus Christ since I was six years old.  I always loved the Lord, went to church weekly, loved going to “big church” (my pastor was the well-known Bible expositor – David L. Hocking. I’d rather hear “Pastor Dave” preach the meat of the Word than “watered down” Sunday school lessons designed for children who’d rather play with lincoln logs, than listen to a teacher. From an early age I’ve always loved apologetics and anything to do with the Bible, Theology, the Gospel, and the Church for whom Jesus gave His life.

However, the summer of 1983 was different from any previous summer in my short life. My passion for sports waned, and God gave me a renewed passion to know Him intimately and magnify Jesus in the proclamation of the Gospel. My senior year of high school I didn’t play any sports for the first time since I was six years old. I realized that I was a follower of Christ second, and a sports idolater first. I needed to repent of my sin of “sports idolatry” and was struck by what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”

Up until my junior year of high school I had been a selfish “sports-aholic,” primarily living for the thrill of victory and to avoid the agony of defeat. I had been living for my glory first, and Christ’s second. I was convicted by the Holy Spirit of this rebellious state and moved by the Holy Spirit “to be transformed by the renewing of my mind” (See Romans 12:1-2).

Over the summer I started asking and wrestling with these questions:

“What if I had died in that accident?”

“What have I accomplished in life that will actually last for eternity?”

“What will I do that will last for eternity for the rest of my life?”

“What things will last on into eternity when I die?”

“Why did God create humans for in the first place?”

“How many people do I know that have I never told about Jesus?

There were many more questions like those above. However, my senior year was different. I started going to a Christian Book store called “Pilgrim’s Progress” and started devouring theology books by J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and many others. While all my friends were going on dates and spending money on movies – I was saving money to buy more books. I studied Greek that fall in a discipleship relationship with my Bible professor in High School – he was a Talbot Seminary student at the time (I would eventually earn my Master of Divinity at Talbot in 1991); I started teaching a junior high Sunday school class in my church; I was witnessing to everything that breathed – I even practiced on my cocker spaniel – “Carlitos” and my cat “Jinx.”

Two defining moments happened to me in the summer of 1983. The first was through an evangelist that you’ve probably heard of – Luis Palau. Billy Graham, Bill Bright, and Luis Palau have planted more seeds of the Gospel than perhaps all the other evangelists of history combined. Luis Palau was passing through on his way to Los Angeles and came over for dinner one evening. Anyone who has ever eaten my mom’s cooking, would NEVER pass up an opportunity to eat her food! If she were younger (she’s 80 today – and still cooks up a storm), I’m convinced she would have her own show on the Food Network and be more popular than Paula Dean or Giada DeLaurentiis!

About the picture above: Luis Palau has literally preached to more people than anyone in the history of Christianity next to Billy Graham – and he’s done it in perfect Spanish and English.  I haven’t heard or seen much of Luis since our days at Multnomah – but I will be forever indebted to Luis for recommending I attend Multnomah University. I received some great training there. However, the best gifts I received were some of my life-long godly friends – who are all comrades in the ministry of the Gospel around the world. Luis Palau’s nephew George Palau, who with his wonderful wife – Stacey – runs an orphanage in Mexico is one of those very close friends. George is one of the greatest servants of Christ I’ve ever known. I have learned much more from him, than I ever will from Luis. Nothing against Luis. But one of the great things about being a Christian is that we all impact one another up close in the context of community – especially when we minister to those who are suffering and in great need. George drove all the way from Mexico yesterday to spend the day with me. I love George, Dave Steele, Eddie Remley, and Mark Wilks, as if they were my very own brothers – and in Christ we are a “band of brothers.” 

Luis Palau is one of the few “big name” Christian heroes that I really respect and admire. He is one of the few pastors I know that is the same in his home, as when he is in front of a crowd of 100,000 people. What you see or hear from Luis is what you get. He practices what he preaches, and is quick to repent when he blows it. My parents grew up in the same Plymouth Brethren (“Los Hermanos Liberes”) church as Luis in Quilmes, Argentina and have known him since he was very young.

Getting back to the dinner. My mom made her famous Caesar salad, homemade spinach ravioli with her amazing Osso-Bucco and meat-sauce, and we had her amazing homemade “dulce de batata” for dessert (I remember – because these are three foods I never eat anywhere else – because no one comes close to preparing these items as well as my mom). After this very filling and satisfying meal Luis and I went for a long walk. I picked his brain and remember asking him, “Luis, how do you know if you are being called to the ministry?”

I honestly can’t remember his exact reply. I just remember that he affirmed my calling and recommended that I attend the same college he attended when Ray Stedman (author of the very influential book “Body Life” and, at that time Pastor of the influential Peninsula Bible Church in Northern California) helped bring a young Luis to the United States to be pastorally trained – because he heard Luis preach on a trip to Argentina and saw how gifted he was. Ray Stedman made it possible for Luis Palau to go to Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon. The school’s motto was, “If it’s Bible you want, then you want Multnomah”.  Luis encouraged me to visit the school and noted and affirmed my passion to know the Word and to make Jesus known.

The second “defining moment” for me came in letting my parents know that I believed and felt overwhelmingly that God was calling me to full-time ministry. God was blessing my teaching, evangelism, and discipleship with youth. I couldn’t imagine doing anything more worthwhile for the rest of my life. I wanted to make my time and life count for what would matter for eternity.

A few days after my walk and talk with Luis Palau, I sat down at approximately 11:30 a.m. at the kitchen table with my mom. My parents are godly people. My dad has worked hard since he was seven years old and he has had several successful businesses in Argentina, England, and the United States. My dad has always been incredibly giving and very involved in ministry. I don’t ever remember getting up in the morning not seeing my dad with an open Bible and drinking mate (Argentine tea). My dad has been an elder and on the Board of several missions around the world. He devours theology, and manifests all the fruit of the Spirit. There is not a single man on the planet that I admire, respect, and desire to be more like than my father. He has been such a good model and such an influence in my life – that I could probably write a whole book on his influence for good in my life.

Meanwhile, getting back to the table with my mom. My dad was working in his office – he added an office to the garage over our Huntington Harbor home, so he didn’t have to drive to Los Angeles anymore. I sat down with my mom and was hesitant to bring up my “calling” for fear that my parents would think I was “loco.” I thought I would share it with my mom first before bringing it up to my dad. My plan up until that summer had been to get a baseball scholarship to a Pac Ten (now Pac 12 or whatever they call it) school, preferably UCLA (Go Bruins! – largely through John Wooden’s influence in my life – his book “They Call Me Coach” was the first book I read from cover-to-cover; John Wooden pictured below)), and to major in Business Administration. I never thought of being anything but a professional athlete – my only difficult decision was I wanted to play all four major USA sports – baseball, football, basketball, and soccer! I’m sure hockey would have been in there too, but nobody except for Canadians knew what that was in the 1980’s – until we won the Olympics in the “Miracle on Ice”!

About the picture above: John Wooden won 10 National Championships as a coach of the UCLA Bruins Basketball team. Wooden had some great players; but he was also able to make great players make other players even better. I think John Wooden (a committed Christ follower) would have been a great pastor as well. He is a perfect model of a life coach – committed to Christ; committed to bringing out the best in individuals; and their teams, churches, and organizations. Everybody wins when they have a good coach. John Wooden was simply the best!

I would literally dream almost every night, and daydream in my classes in school of throwing the over time touchdown pass in the last seconds of the Super Bowl to lead the Rams to victory over the Steelers; hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series before the home crowd in Los Angeles over (who else?) the New York Yankees; shooting a three-point shot in over time to win the NBA championship for the Lakers against the Celtics.  I dreamed of taking the Americans all the way to the final in the World Cup and beating Germany, Argentina, or Brazil by scoring a hat trick in bringing the World Cup to the USA for the first time. I even remember in my dreams calling my cousins Ariel and Martin in Argentina to apologize to them for beating their homeland in their favorite sport!

Oh yeah – sorry, sidetracked – back to the table with my mom. When I told my mom about the stirring in my heart, my desire to know the Scriptures, my passion to proclaim Christ, and my desire to attend Multnomah in Portland – she began to sob. I was thinking to myself, “Oh no, now I’m in trouble – there goes the family business.”

My mom came around the table and gave me a big hug and went and got her Bible and read from 1 Samuel 1 – the story of Samuel’s being dedicated to the Lord (I encourage you to read it). She read the entire chapter to me out loud and then after reading the last three verses of chapter 1 and the first 2 verses of chapter where Hannah says and prays the following:

And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 1:26-2:2)…

She came and hugged me, and said that Hannah’s was her story and Samuel’s story was my story. Rachel (my mom) told me that the doctors told her she would never have a child again. She lost two children due to complications between my sister – Miriam – and myself.

I never knew the story of my mom and dad’s loss until this day, at this moment, at the table in our kitchen. In short, my mother had always wanted six children (two of them I will meet for the first time in Heaven one day). I have two brothers – Daniel, 15 years my senior and George, 10 years older than me; and a sister that’s 8 years older than me – Miriam. One child my mom lost was never named (but will have a name that Jesus has given according to Revelation), the other was named Michelle.

My mom went and got my dad from the office and she shared the story of how she prayed that if God gave her another child – she and my dad would dedicate him to the Lord – just as Hannah had dedicated Samuel. Talk about a confirmation! We all wept and prayed, and thanked the Lord for His answers to prayer to my faithful parents prayer to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

About the Picture above: My parents have been the biggest influences on my life spiritually. My dad, Daniel, will be 90 in January; and my mom, Rachel, will be 81. They prayed for me before I was born. They read the Bible to me from the time I was a baby (and still quote it to me on the phone or every time we are together). They are my biggest heroes in life. They are going to be married 64 years on December 4, 2012. My parents have always been my biggest fans, but better than that – they have been huge fans of Jesus, His Church, and the spread of the Gospel around the world. They have had a lot of difficult times financially, physically, and have lost almost all their life-long friends. And yet they always have a smile on their faces and exhibit the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. I love them with such admiration, appreciation, and respect that I will never be able to convey in words. I am a Christian today because of the sovereign election of God in eternity past; and love and follow Jesus because they modeled His love and grace when I was growing up, and continue to do so, to this very day. I can’t think of two people who better model what the Apostle Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Jesus Christ.”

Since that day I have gone on to earn a B.S. (at Multnomah); a M.Div. at Talbot School of Theology; a doctorate and doctoral work in Theology and Pastoral Leadership at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, and Northwest Graduate School in Seattle. I have been a youth and senior pastor in California and Washington State. I have traveled to more than 30 countries on missions trips and training pastors and missionaries. I have discipled dozens of men. My best education was one I never purposely applied for, but have most definitely been “accepted” to. It’s proverbially called “The School of Hard Knocks.” I would concur with the great Reformer Martin Luther who summarized his learning in this way, ““Suffering has made me a better theologian than any book I’ve ever read.” However, I don’t think I’ve seen the tip of the iceberg of what God has entrusted unto me as a steward of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The questions I asked earlier are questions I’m still asking. Having been diagnosed with cancer recently and beginning radiation and chemotherapy in the next week, I pray that God will continue to change me and conform me to His Son. I pray that whether I live another forty-six years, or only have days to live for him – that people will know, see, and hear about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I desire more than anything that all my family members would know and follow Jesus. I firmly believe with the sentiment, “This life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I have lived a wonderful life. I have been bruised and broken, but not crushed. I am becoming stronger through life’s trials and tribulations. Since the age of seventeen all I’ve ever wanted to do, is know Jesus intimately and make Him known.

This past year I’ve been doing some “life coaching” through a non-profit ministry I established called Vertical Living Ministries. I started this Pastoral ministry with the help of some wonderful people who have sacrificially contributed generously, so that I can make multiplying disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ around the world. I have trained people one-on-one and in small and large groups, discipled men and women, and trained people in Christ-centered living through this ministry.

I originally established Vertical Living MInistries to provide training for leaders in poor countries. We who live in America have access to so many good resources by way of books, conferences, Bible Colleges, and Seminaries. I have been to countries where pastors share one Bible amongst themselves and have absolutely no training or access to any resources whatsoever. However, now with my cancer, I really don’t know where God is calling me. However, I know that I will always be a pastor. I am a shepherd. I have had Jesus shepherd me, and I simply want to find other sheep who will follow hard after the Good Shepherd.

I call myself a Pastoral Coach because I want to encourage Christians to make Christ number one in their lives. I love “life” coaching because I can help disciples of Christ focus on the following nine areas of Christo-centricity.  Just as we talk about  a Planetary system that’s Helio, and not Geo-centered, I like to think of life functioning best when our lives revolve around, and in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

(1) Spiritually – Your Relationship to God through the Lordship of Jesus Christ. My main focus here is to help people understand the life transforming ramifications of the Gospel in your life: past, present, and future ramifications for today. Most Christians only remember or hold on to their past, or future in Christ and forget how the Gospel needs to be lived out on a daily basis – we are continually learning to repent and grow in our faith with Christ at the center of it all.

(2) Marriage – Your triune covenantal relationship with Christ at the center. Marriages can work for two unbelievers, and even sometimes when an unbeliever is married to an unbeliever. However, it was designed by God to not be a marriage of two, but of three. I help couples to practically make Christ the center of their “solar system” in their marriage.

(3) Family/Parenting – How to be a Christ-centered family and raise Children that love Jesus above all else. For many parents, their children become “idols.”, especially for women.  Their identity, security, and significance is oftentimes wrapped up in the performance, success, and behavior of their children. If their children are doing well – they are doing well. However, if a child rebels or is unsuccessful in life – they take it personally, and lose their way. Many “empty nesters” – especially women, become depressed and feel like life is meaningless when their kids move out of the home. I help parents to see that our security and significance needs to be properly placed in submission to the Lordship of Christ. Only God never changes. If we place our security in our kids or anything else – we are in big trouble. In raising our children we are merely short-term stewards of what is rightfully God’s. The greatest thing we can do as parents is to model Christo-centricity for our children. I’m grateful that my parents modeled and taught me daily that the most important thing in life is my relationship with and service unto Jesus.

(4) Vocationally – Your Work in the World and with the Church. Most women have the idolatry of “motherhood.” Most men see their significance and security in their work. Their identity is wrapped up in their position, possessions, and provisions for their families. Well, what happens to the man who loses his job, gets physically incapacitated, or runs into midlife.  You’ve been working at a job for 30 years and come to realize that you were climbing the wrong ladder that was leaning up against the wrong wall in your “prime” years? Men and women both have pseudo securities – or what the Bible calls “idolatry.” I try to teach people how to view their talents, passions, skills, abilities, and hobbies as unto the Lord. Ultimately, God is our boss and we will spend the bulk of our lives working – but do we find the pleasure of God in our work? Few things excite me more than seeing businessmen or women shine brightly for the sake of Christ in the context of making a profit that will last for eternity in the lives of others.

(5) Health – Taking care of your body that God will use on this earth until the day of your final glorification. This is one of the most neglected areas for Christians. It’s very easy to get out of balance in what we eat, how we exercise, and being responsible with the stewardship of our bodies. I love what C.S. Lewis says, “You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.” In other words, we are dualists. We have an immaterial part of us, and we are housed in a physical body that must be maintained. Sometimes, we can’t control what happens to our bodies (Doctors don’t know how I got cancer). However, even if we have ailments and age, we still need to be responsible in taking care of our bodies as best as we can, so we can serve Jesus as long as we can, and as effectively as we can, while we “house” the soul.

(6) Friendship – Your connections and building bridges with others as you reflect Christ in your community. Too many people are wrapped up in work, family, and get isolated outside of community. I thank God for the emphasis on community by many churches. However, if you want to have friends, you must be a friend. Nobody models this better than Jesus, “a friend of sinners.” Friends are so important – especially in tough times. Having friends and family means the world to me especially when the “going gets tough.” I firmly believe that especially among pastors (health and friendships are two of the most neglected areas in this list of nine – and that it’s what will “do them in” during mid-life or their retirement years).

(7) Financially – Your stewardship of God’s resources. I can honestly say that having to give away or sell more than 6,000 theology books in the past five years, going from a 3,400 square foot house we owned to a 1,600 square foot condo we rent, and having to give away all our pets (four cats and a dog) have been some of the hardest things to go through, but also some of the best. Money and possessions (having control) is a huge idolatry in our culture. Simple is better. Jesus left earth for Heaven literally naked – and so will we. However, are you content with only Him and nothing else? Look at the difference Jesus made two thousand years ago, and is still making today. He owned nothing and left no possessions behind. Nothing “owned” Him. What owns you? I believe that generosity exhibits the nature and character of God perhaps more fully than any other trait. For example, I don’t think it’s coincidence that the most famous verse in the Bible is about the greatest sacrifice and the greatest gift: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Aren’t you glad God is a giver? How about you? I believe that Tim Keller is dead-on here when he says, “Idolatry is just a failure to obey God, It’s setting the whole heart on something besides God… Where your money goes most effortlessly, that’s where your heart really rests.” In my life I’ve found peace and rest not in the economy, but in Jesus alone – and He never changes – satisfaction is truly found when you realize that when God is all you have, He’s all you really need.

(8) Mentoring – Investing in Others Using your unique Skills, Gifting, Talents, Personality, and Passion. I’m forty-six years old and have never really been formally discipled or mentored by anyone. That’s a tragedy of the first order. I firmly believe that every single man and every woman has strengths and skills to teach future generations, but these don’t typically happen without intentionality. I train people to use their unique gifts, passions, abilities, skills, and so forth and pass those on to future generations – with intentionality. It really upsets me to no end to see how self-absorbed we’ve become. We have our I-pads, I-pods, and I-phones, and have become “I-focused”! Don’t get me wrong – I love technology, but for many it’s become an obsession and an idol. We need to become more focused on Jesus and others if we want to make a difference that will last into eternity. I love what Paul says about Jesus in Philippians 2:4-5, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

(9) Discipleship – You’re investing in the Spiritual Growth of other followers and would-be followers of Christ. Nothing gets me more riled up than the lack of lifestyle and intentional discipleship taking place among Christians. Again, without intentionality this just doesn’t happen. I have asked men in their twenties up until their eighties if they have ever been discipled by another man – In thirty years of doing ministry I hear “Never” or “What are you talking about” at least 90% of the time. This is unconscionable! And yet, the great commission is all about “making disciples” of all nations. Are you intentionally making disciples in your circle of influence with your children, friends, neighbors, spouses, family, co-workers, teammates, and fellow students?

It is my prayer and hope to take the baton that has been passed on to me from my godly heritage in these nine areas. I hope that God will use my cancer to further the Gospel. I desire to teach, preach, and live for the glory of Christ while I have breath.

My life verses are 1 Timothy 4:16 where the Apostle Paul says to Timothy: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Acts 20:24, where the Apostle Paul proclaims, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus Christ, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

And Romans 8:16-18 & 28-30, where the Apostle Paul declares, The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

It’s been about 13 months since I last preached – I haven’t had any invitations. And yet the passion of my soul is to preach the Gospel. Sometimes I feel like a Pastor who is a dinosaur in the 21st century, fast-paced Church. I have tried to get a job in a modern church for the past 13 months – in churches that appear to want CEO’s, not Shepherds; Programs, not Preachers; is more concerned about being politically correct and pragmatic than Theologically correct and Christ-centered. Whether I end up pastoring again in a local church or life coaching, I can’t help but be what I am – dependent on God’s mercy and grace as I battle cancer. Since the age of seventeen all I’ve ever wanted to do, is to know Jesus and to make Him known.

I love Him because He first loved me. I love the gospel and to declare it with my whole heart, mind, and soul. I love to shepherd people – not because I’m a great shepherd, but because I have a Great Shepherd! His name is Jesus! As long as I have breath I will declare Him among the nations. I will serve Him because He came to seek, serve, and save me first. He is my peace, and He is the hope of all nations. He will reign on the Earth again, and I will reign with Him. Until that day, I believe wholeheartedly with these words of Paul David Tripp:

“No matter how great your weakness is, God’s power is greater. No matter how out of control your life is, God’s sovereignty is greater. No matter how alone you may feel, God’s presence is greater. No matter how out of control your life is, God’s provisions are greater. No matter how deep your sin is, God’s grace is deeper. No matter how foolish your foolishness is, God’s wisdom is greater. The same sovereign God who planned the details of your life sent his Son so you would have what you need to face what He willed for you.”

According to the New American Oxford Dictionary a “Pastor” is “one who gives guidance to someone.” A coach is “a tutor who gives private or specialized teaching.” It is my desire to guide people with the experiences and education I’ve received and to teach them of Jesus at the center of all of life. Whether in a local church as a pastor, or in the Church universal as a “pastoral life coach.” I only want to invest in that which matters for eternity. All these years I have preached the Gospel – how one can have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Now as I battle cancer, it is my desire to preach with my life and suffering how to have peace with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Once again I quote from the Apostle Paul,

For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (12 Corinthians 5:14-15).

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8-14).

 Sola Scriptura! Sola Fide! Sola Gratia! Solus Christus! Soli Deo Gloria!

 (Scripture Alone! Faith Alone! Grace Alone! Christ Alone – To God be the Glory Alone!)

Negative Attitude? Here’s Help From John C. Maxwell In Developing a Positive Attitude!

“Why Your Attitude Is So Important In Your Pathway to Success”

 

Do you feel the world is treating you well? If your attitude toward the world is excellent, you will receive excellent results. If you feel so-so about the world, your response from the world will be average. Feel badly about your world and you will seem to have only negative feedback from life. – John C. Maxwell

We live in a world of words. Attached to these words are meanings that bring varied responses from us. Words such as happiness, acceptance, peace and success describe what each of us desires. But there is one word that will either heighten the possibility of our desires being fulfilled or prevent them from becoming a reality within us.

While leading a conference in South Carolina, I tried the following experiment. To reveal the significance of this word, I read the previous paragraph and asked, “What word describes what will determine our happiness, acceptance, peace and success?” The audience began to express words such as job, education, money, and time. Finally someone said attitude. Such an important area of their lives was a second thought. Our attitude is the primary force that will determine whether we succeed or fail.

For some, attitude presents a difficulty in every opportunity; for others it presents an opportunity in every difficulty. Some climb with a positive attitude, while others fall with a negative perspective. The very fact that the attitude “makes some” while “breaking others” is significant enough for us to explore its importance. Studying the major statements listed in this chapter will highlight this truth to us.

 Attitude Axiom #1: Our attitude determines our approach to life.

The story of the two buckets underlines this truth. One bucket was an optimist, and the other was a pessimist. “There has never been a life as disappointing as mine,” said the empty bucket as it approached the well. “I never come away from the well full but what I return again empty.”

“There has never been such a happy life as mine:’ said the full bucket as it left the well. “I never come to the well empty but what I go away again full.”

Our attitude tells us what we expect from life. If our “nose” is pointed up, we are taking off; if it is pointed down, we may be headed for a crash.

One of my favorite stories is about a grandpa and grandma who visited the grandchildren. Each afternoon Grandpa would lie down for a nap. One day, as a practical joke, the kids decided to put Limburger cheese in his moustache. Quite soon he awoke sniffing. “Why, this room stinks;’ he exclaimed as he got up and went out into the kitchen. He wasn’t there long until he decided that the kitchen smelled too, so he walked outdoors for a breath of fresh air. Much to Grandpa’s surprise, the open air brought no relief, and he proclaimed, “The whole world stinks”

How true that is to life! When we carry “Limburger cheese” in our attitudes, the whole world smells bad.

One of the valid ways to test your attitude is to answer this question: “Do you feel your world is treating you well?” If your attitude toward the world is excellent, you will receive excellent results. If you feel so-so about the world, your response from the world will be average. Feel badly about your world, and you will seem to have only negative feedback from life. Look around you. Analyze the conversations of people who lead unhappy, unfulfilled lives. You will find they are crying out against a society, which they feel is out to get them and to give them a lifetime of trouble, misery and bad luck. Sometimes their own hands have built the prison of discontent.

The world doesn’t care whether we free ourselves from this prison or not. It marches on. Adopting a good, healthy attitude toward life does not affect society nearly so much as it affects us. The change cannot come from others. It must come from us.

The apostle Paul had a terrible background to overcome. He told Timothy that he was the “chief of sinners.” But after his conversion he was infused with desire to know Christ in a greater way. How did he fulfill this desire? Not by waiting for someone else to assist him. Neither did he look backward and whine about his terrible past. Paul diligently “pressed on to lay hold of Jesus.” His singleness of purpose caused him to state, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).

We are individually responsible for our view of life. The Bible says, “Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Our attitude and action toward life help determine what happens to us.

It would be impossible to estimate the number of jobs, which have been lost, the number of promotions missed, the number of sales not made and the number of marriages ruined by poor attitudes. But almost daily we witness jobs that are held but hated and marriages that are tolerated but unhappy, all because people are waiting for others, or the world, to change instead of realizing that they are responsible for their behavior. God is sufficient to give them the desire to change, but the choice to act upon that desire is theirs.

It is impossible for us to tailor-make all situations to fit our lives perfectly. But it is possible to tailor-make our attitudes to fit. The apostle Paul beautifully demonstrated this truth while he was imprisoned in Rome. He certainly had not received a “fair shake” The atmosphere of his confinement was dark and cold. Yet he writes to the church at Philippi brightly declaring, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Notice that the confined man was telling carefree people to rejoice Was Paul losing his mind? No. The secret is found late in the same chapter. Paul states:

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need (verses 11-12).

The ability to tailor-make his attitude to his situation in life was learned behavior. It did not come automatically. The behavior was learned and a positive outlook became natural. Paul repeatedly teaches us by his life that man helps create his environment-mental, emotional, physical and spiritual-by the attitude he develops.

 Attitude Application:

Circle, underline, or highlight the number that most closely reveals your attitude toward life:

1. “Make the World Go Away”

2. “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head”

3. “I Did It My Way”

4. “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”

 Attitude Axiom #2: Our attitude determines our relationships with people.

The Golden Rule: “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them” (Matthew 7:12). This axiom takes on a higher significance when, as Christians, we realize that effective ministry to one another is based on relationships. The model of ministry (as I understand ministry) is best captured in John 13. Christ and His disciples are gathered in the upper room. The components of Christ’s model of ministry are:

1. Men with whom He had shared all areas of life;

2. An attitude and demonstration of servanthood;

3. An all-encompassing command of relational love. (“By this all men will know you are My disciples.”)

An effective ministry of relating to others must include all three of these biblical components. No single methodology (preaching, counseling, visitation) will effectively minister to all the needs all the time. It takes a wise combination of many methods to reach the needs of people. And the bridge between the gospel remedy and people’s needs is leadership based on relationship. John 10:3-5 gives a view of relational leadership:

1. Relationship to the point of instant recognition (He calls His own sheep by name);

2. Established relationship built on trust (His sheep hear his voice and come to Him);

3. Modeled leadership (He walks ahead of them and they follow Him).

Yet establishing such relationships is difficult. People are funny. They want a place in the front of the bus, the back of the church and the middle of the road. Tell a man there are 300 billion stars, and he will believe you. Tell that same man that a bench has just been painted, and he has to touch it to be sure.

People are frustrating at times. They show up at the wrong place at the wrong time for the wrong reason. They are always interesting but not always charming. They are not always predictable because they have minds of their own. You can’t get along with them, and you can’t make it without them. That’s why it is essential to build proper relationships with others in our crowded world.

The Stanford Research Institute says that the money you make in any endeavor is determined only 12.5 percent by knowledge and 87.5 percent by your ability to deal with people.

87.5% people knowledge + = Success 12.5% product knowledge

That is why Teddy Roosevelt said, “The most important single ingredient to the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

“I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun;’ asserted John D. Rockefeller.

J. Paul Getty, when asked what was the most important quality for a successful executive, replied, “It doesn’t make much difference how much other knowledge or experience an executive possesses; if he is unable to achieve results through people, he is worthless as an executive.”

When the attitude we possess places others first and we see people as important, then our perspective will reflect their viewpoint, not ours. Until we walk in the other person’s shoes and see life through another’s eyes, we will be like the man who angrily jumped out of his car after a collision with another car. “Why don’t you people watch where you’re driving?” he shouted wildly. “You’re the fourth car I’ve hit today!”

A few years ago I was traveling in the South and stopped at a service station for some fuel. It was a rainy day, yet the station workers were diligently trying to take care of the customers. I was impressed by the first-class treatment and fully understood the reason when I read this sign on the front door of the station:

 WHY CUSTOMERS QUIT

1% die, 3% move away, 5% other friendships, 9% competitive reasons (price), 14 % product dissatisfaction – BUT…68% quit because of an attitude of indifference toward them by some employee! In other words, 68 percent quit because the workers did not have a customer mindset working for them.

Usually the person who rises within an organization has a good attitude. The promotions did not give that individual an outstanding attitude, but an outstanding attitude resulted in promotions. A recent study by Telemetrics International concerned those “nice guys” who had climbed the corporate ladder. A total of 16,000 executives were studied. Observe the difference between executives defined as “high achievers” (those who generally have a healthy attitude) and “low achievers” (those who generally have an unhealthy attitude):

  • High achievers tended to care about people as well as profits; low achievers were preoccupied with their own security.
  • High achievers viewed subordinates optimistically; low achievers showed a basic distrust of subordinates’ abilities.
  • High achievers sought advice from their subordinates; low achievers didn’t.
  • High achievers were listeners; low achievers avoided communication and relied on policy manuals.

In 1980-81 I took on a rather ambitious project, which included teaching and leading fifteen pastors and their congregations to become growing, vibrant churches. One of my favorite responsibilities was to speak in a Sunday service and recruit workers for that particular church. Right before the “enlisting service;’ I would ask the pastor how many people he thought would come forward, sign a card and enlist in evangelism and discipleship. I would watch the pastor slowly calculate the “who woulds” and the “who would nots:” After receiving the carefully chosen number, I would announce, “More than that number will sign up.”

Why could I say that? Did I know his people better than he did? Of course not. What I did know was that the pastor had mentally placed his people into slots and “knew” how they would react during the service. Since I did not know the congregation, my attitude was open and positive toward all of them. I treated the listeners as if they all would respond, and most did! All fifteen pastors guessed lower than the actual laity response.

A negative past experience sometimes paralyzes our thinking and our attitude. A man unable to find his best saw, suspected his neighbor’s son who was always tinkering around with woodworking. During the next few days everything that the young man did looked suspicious-the way he walked, the tone of his voice and his gestures. But when the older man found the saw behind his own workbench, where it had fallen when he accidentally knocked it off the bench, he no longer saw anything suspicious in his neighbor’s son.

Attitude Application:

Challenge: For one week treat every person you meet, without a single exception, as the most important person on earth. You will find that they will begin treating you the same way.

Attitude Axiom #3: Often our attitude is the only difference between success and failure.

History’s greatest achievements have been made by men who excelled only slightly over the masses of others in their fields. This could be called the principle of the slight edge. Many times that slight difference was attitude. The former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir underlined this truth in one of her interviews. She said, “All my country has is spirit. We don’t have petroleum dollars. We don’t have mines or great wealth in the ground. We don’t have the support of a worldwide public opinion that looks favorably on us. All Israel has is the spirit of its people. And if the people lose their spirit, even the United States of America cannot save us.” This great lady was saying,

Resources + Bad Attitude = Defeat

Resources + Right Attitude = Victory

Below I’ve listed resources that enable a person to achieve success. Beside this list write down some of your other blessings. Read them when you are losing that slight edge.

  • Experiences
  • Connections
  • Health
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Aptitude
  • Money
  • Attitude
  • Goals

Certainly aptitude is important to our success in life. Yet success or failure in any undertaking is caused more by mental attitude than by mere mental capacities. I remember times when Margaret, my wife, would come home from teaching school frustrated because of modern education’s emphasis on aptitude instead of attitude. She wanted the kids to be tested on A.Q. (attitude quotient) instead of just the I.Q. (intelligence quotient). She would talk of kids whose I.Q. was high yet their performance was low. There were others whose I.Q. was low, but their performance was high.

As a parent, I hope my children have excellent minds and outstanding attitudes. But if I had to choose in an “either-or” situation, without hesitation I would want their A.Q. to be high.

A Yale University president some years ago gave this advice to a former president of Ohio State: “Always be kind to your A and B students. Someday one of them will return to your campus as a good professor. And also be kind to your C students. Someday one of them will return and build a two-million dollar science laboratory.”

A Princeton Seminary professor discovered that the spirit of optimism really does make a difference. He made a study of great preachers across past centuries. He noted their tremendous varieties of personalities and gifts. Then he asked the question, “What do these outstanding pulpiteers all have in common besides their faith?” After several years of searching he found the answer. It was their cheerfulness. In most cases they were happy men.

There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. Nowhere is this principle better illustrated than in the story of the young bride from the East who, during wartime, followed her husband to a U.S. Army camp on the edge of the desert in California.

Living conditions were primitive at best, and her husband had advised against her move, but she wanted to be with him. The only housing they could find was a rundown shack near an Indian village. The heat was unbearable in the daytime—115 degrees in the shade. The wind blew constantly, spreading dust and sand all over everything. The days were long and boring. Her only neighbors were Indians, none of whom spoke English. When her husband was ordered farther into the desert for two weeks of maneuvers, loneliness and the wretched living conditions got the best of her. She wrote to her mother that she was coming home. She couldn’t take it anymore.

In a short time she received a reply which included these two lines, “Two men looked through prison bars; one saw mud, the other saw stars.” She read the lines over and over again and began to feel ashamed of herself. She didn’t really want to leave her husband. All right, she thought, she’d look for the stars. In the following days she set out to make friends with the Indians, asking them to teach her weaving and pottery. At first they were distant, but as soon as they sensed her genuine interest, they returned her friendship. She became friendly with their culture and history—in fact, everything about them. As she began to study the desert, it too changed from a desolate, forbidding place to a marvelous thing of beauty.

She had her mother send her books. She studied the forms of the cacti, the yuccas and the Joshua trees. She collected sea shells that had been left there when the sands had an ocean floor. Later, she became such an expert on the area that she wrote a book about it.

What had changed? Not the desert; not the Indians. Simply by changing her own attitude she had transformed a miserable experience into a highly rewarding one.

Attitude Application:

There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. That difference is attitude. Think of something that you desire. What attitude will you need to get it or achieve it?

Attitude Axiom #4: Our attitude at the beginning of a task will affect its outcome more than anything else.

Coaches understand the importance of their teams having the right attitude before facing a tough opponent. Surgeons want to see their patients mentally prepared before going into surgery. Job-seekers know that their prospective employer is looking for more than just skills when they apply for work. Public speakers want a conducive atmosphere before they communicate to their audience. Why? Because the right attitude in the beginning insures success at the end. You are acquainted with the saying, “All’s well, that ends well.” An equal truth is “All’s well that begins well.

One of the key principles I teach when leading evangelism conferences is the importance of our attitude when witnessing to others. Most of the time it is the way we present the gospel rather than the gospel itself that offends people. Two people can share the same news with the same person and receive different results. Why? Usually the difference is in the attitude of the person sharing. The eager witness says to himself, “People are hungry for the gospel and desirous of a positive change in their lives.” The reluctant witness says to himself, “People are hungry for the gospel and desirous of a positive change in their lives.” The reluctant witness says to himself, “People are not interested in spiritual things and don’t want to be bothered.” Those two attitudes will not only determine the number of attempts made in witnessing (can you guess which one will witness?) but also will determine the results if they both share the same faith.

The American statesman Hubert H. Humphrey was admired by millions. His bubbly enthusiasm was contagious. When he died I cut out one of his quotes from a newspaper article about him. It was written to his wife on his first trip to Washington, D.C., in 1935: “I can see how someday, if you and I just apply ourselves and make up our minds for bigger things, we can someday live here in Washington and probably be in government, politics or service. Oh gosh, I hope my dream comes true; I’m going to try anyhow.” With that type of attitude he couldn’t fail!

Most projects fail or succeed before they begin. A young mountain climber and an experienced guide were ascending a high peak in the Sierras. Early one morning a tremendous cracking sound suddenly awakened the young climber.

He was convinced that the end of the world had come. The guide responded, “It’s not the end of the world, just the dawning of a new day.” As the sun rose, it was merely hitting the ice and causing it to melt.

Many times we have been guilty of viewing our future challenges as the sunset of life rather than the sunrise of a bright new opportunity.

For instance, there’s the story of two shoe salesman who were sent to an island to sell shoes. The first salesman, upon arrival, as shocked to realize that no one wore shoes. Immediately he sent a telegram to his home office in Chicago saying, “Will return home tomorrow. No one here wears shoes.”

The second salesman was thrilled by the same realization. Immediately he wired the home office in Chicago saying, “Please send me 10,000 shoes. Everyone here needs shoes.” Raise the level of your attitude!

Attitude Axiom #5: Our attitude can turn problems into blessings.

In Awake, My Heart, my find J. Sidlow Baxter writes, “What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty and every difficulty has an opportunity.”

When confronted with a difficult situation, a person with an outstanding attitude makes the best of it while he gets the worst of it. Life can be likened to a grindstone. Whether it grinds you down or polishes you depends upon what you are made of.

While attending a conference of young leaders, I heard this statement: “No society has ever developed tough men during times of peace.” Adversity is prosperity to those who possess a great attitude. Kites rise against, not with, the wind. When the adverse wind of criticism blows, allow it to be to you what the blast of wind is to the kite—a force against it higher. A kite would not fly unless it had the controlling tension of the string to tie it down. It is equally true in life.

When Napoleon’s school companions made sport of him because of his humble origin and poverty, he devoted himself entirely to his books. Quickly rising above his classmates in scholarship, he commanded their respect. Soon he was regarded as the brightest in the class.

If the germ of the seed has to struggle to push its way up through the stones and hard sod, to fight its way up to the sunlight and air and then to wrestle with storm, snow and frost, the fiber or its timber will be all the tougher and stronger.

Few people knew Abraham Lincoln until the great weight showed his character.

Robinson Crusoe was written in prison. John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress in the Bedford jail. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote The History of the World during a thirteen-year imprisonment. Luther translated the Bible while confined in the castle of Wartburg. For ten years Dante, author of The Divine Comedy, worked in exile and under the sentence of death. Beethoven was almost totally deaf and burdened with sorrow when he produced his greatest works.

When God wants to educate a man, He does not send him to the school of graces but to the school of necessities. Through the pit and the dungeon Joseph came to the throne. Moses tended sheep in the desert before God called him for service. Peter, humbled and broken by his denial of Christ, heeded the command to “Feed My sheep.” Hosea loved and cared for an unfaithful wife out of obedience to God.

In the Chinese language, whole words are written with a symbol. Often when two completely unlike symbols are put together, they have a meaning different from their two separate components. An example is the symbol of “man” and that of “woman.” When combined, they mean “good.”

The same is true of dreams and problems. As the answers always lie in the questions, so the opportunities of life lie directly in our problems. Thomas Edison said, “There is much more opportunity than there are people to see it.”

Great leaders emerge when crises occur. In the lives of people who achieve, we read repeatedly of terrible troubles which force them to rise above the commonplace. Not only do they find the answers, but also they discover a tremendous power within themselves. Like a ground swell far out in the ocean, this force within explodes into a mighty wave when circumstances seem to overcome. Then out steps the athlete, the author, the statesman, the scientist or the businessman. David Sarnoff said, “There is plenty of security in the cemetery; I long for opportunity.”

We will know our attitude is on the right track when we are like the small businessmen whose clothing store was threatened with extinction. A national chain store had moved in and acquired all the properties on his block. This one particular businessman refused to sell. “All right then, we’ll build around you and put you out of business,” the new competitors said. The day came when the small merchant found himself hemmed in with a new department store stretching out on both sides of this little retail shop. The competitors’ banners announced, “Grand Opening!” The merchant countered with a banner stretching across the entire width of his store. It read, “Main Entrance.”

Attitude Application:

List two problems that are presently a part of your life. Besides the two problems write down your present reactions to them. Are they negative? Your challenge: Discover at least three possible benefits from each problem. Now attack the problem with your eyes on the benefits, not the barriers.

Attitude Axiom #6: Our attitude can give us an uncommonly positive perspective.

The result of that truth: the accomplishment of uncommon goals. I have keenly observed the different approaches and results achieved by a positive thinker and by a person filled with fear and apprehension.

Example: When Goliath came up against the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, He’s so big we can never kill him. David looked at the same giant and thought; He’s so big I can’t miss.

Example: When you go to a shopping mall or any public place that contains a lot of cars and people, do you start at the farthest point of the parking lot and work your way toward the building, or drive to the front, assuming someone will be pulling out so you can pull in? If you operate from a positive perspective in life you will always go to the front. One time I had a friend ask me why I always assumed a close parking space would be available. My answer: “The odds are that a person coming out of the store has been there the longest. Since that individual arrived at the store the earliest, he parked the closest.” When they pull out, I drive in and give them a friendly wave. It’s the least I can do for a person who has saved my parking space.

Former Moody Bible Institute President George Sweeting, in his sermon entitled “Attitude Makes the Difference,” tells about a Scotsman who was an extremely hard worker and expected all the men under him to be the same. His men would tease him, “Scotty, don’t you know that Rome wasn’t built in a day?” “Yes,” he would answer, “I know that. But I wasn’t foreman on that job.”

The individual whose attitude causes him to approach life from an entirely positive perspective is not always understood. He is what some would call a “no-limit person.” In other words, he doesn’t accept the normal limitations of life like most people. He is unwilling to accept “the accepted” just because it is accepted. His response to self-limiting conditions will probably be a “Why?” instead of an “Okay.” He has limitation in his life. His gifts are not so plentiful that he cannot fail. But he determined to walk to the very edge of his potential or the potential of a prophet before he accepts a defeat.

He is like the bumblebee. According to a theory of aerodynamics, as demonstrated through the wind tunnel tests, the bumblebee should be unable to fly. Because of the size, weight and shape of his body in relationship to the total wingspread, flying is scientifically impossible. The bumblebee, being ignorant of scientific theory, goes ahead and flies anyway and makes honey every day.

This mindset allows a person to start each day with a positive disposition, like the elevator operator on Monday morning. The elevator was full and the man began humming a tune. One passenger seemed particularly irritated by the man’s mood and snapped, “What are you so happy about?” “Well, sir,” replied the man happily, “I ain’t never lived this day before!”

Asked which of his works he would select as his masterpiece, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, at age 83, replied, “My next one.” The future not only looks bright when the attitude is right, but also the present is much more enjoyable. The positive person understands that the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.

One day a man was watching two masons working on a building. He noticed that one worker continually frowned, groaned and cursed his labors. When asked what he was doing, he replied, “Just piling one stone on top of another all day long until my back is about to break.” The other mason whistled as he worked. His movements were swift and sure and his face was aglow with satisfaction. When asked what he was doing, he replied, “Sir, I’m not just making a stone wall. I’m helping to build a cathedral.”

A friend of mine in Ohio drove for an interstate trucking company. Knowing the hundreds of miles he logged weekly, I once asked him how he kept from getting extremely tired. “It’s all in your attitude,” he replied. “Some drivers ‘go to work’ in the morning but I ‘go for a ride in the country.’” That kind of positive perspective gives him the “edge” on life.

Attitude Application:

Notice the limitation that you or your friends accept today. With each limitation example ask the question, “Why? Example: “Why did I choose this parking space far away without checking up close first?” Make a mental note to become a “no limit person” each time you ask the question, Why?

Attitude Axiom #7: Our attitude is not automatically good just because we are Christians.

It is noteworthy that even the seven deadly sins (pride, covetousness, lust, envy, anger, gluttony, and sloth) are all matters of attitude, inner spirit and motives. Sadly, many carnal Christians carry with them inner spirit problems. They are like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son, thinking they do everything right. He chose to stay home with his father. No way was he going to spend his time sowing wild oats. Yet, when the younger brother came back home, some of the elder brother’s wrong attitudes began to surface.

First came a feeling of self-importance. The elder brother was out in a field doing what he ought to do, but he got mad when the party began at home. He didn’t get mad because he didn’t like parties. I know he liked parties, because he claimed to his father that he would never let him throw one!

That was followed by a feeling of self-pity. The elder brother said, “Look! For so many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a kid, that I might merry with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who devoured your wealth with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him” (Luke 15:29-30).

Often we overlook the true meaning of the story of the prodigal son. We forget that have not one but two prodigals. The younger brother is guilty of the sins of the spirit (attitude). When the parable closes, it is the elder brother—the second prodigal—who is outside the father’s house. [For an outstanding presentation of the Gospel from Luke 15 and contrast in the religiosity of the one son and rebelliousness of the other – see Tim Keller’s short book: The Prodigal God – DPC].

In Philippians 2:3-8, Paul talks about the attitudes we should possess as Christians:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Paul tells us at least 5 things about the proper Christian attitude:

  1. Do things for the right reasons (verse 3).
  2. Regard others as more important than yourself (verse 3).
  3. Look out for the interests of others (verse 4).
  4. Christ recognized His sonship and therefore was willing to serve God and others (verse 6).
  5. Possess the attitude of Christ, who was not power hungry (verse 6) but rather emptied Himself (verse 7), demonstrated obedience (verse 8) and fulfilled God’s purpose (verse 8).

When our emphasis of lifestyle is focused on verse 4, looking out for own personal interests, we become like the elder brother. We nurture attitudes of jealousy, pity and selfishness. Christians who possess no greater cause than themselves are not as happy as those who do not know Christ as Savior, yet have a purpose greater than themselves.

This “elder brother” attitude has three possible results, none of which is positive.

First, it is possible for us to assume the place and privilege of a son while refusing the obligations of a brother. The elder brother outwardly was correct, conscientious, industrious and dutiful [externally religious], but look at his attitude. Also note that a wrong relationship with the brother brought a strained relationship with the father (Luke 15:28).

Second, it is possible to serve the Father faithfully yet not be in fellowship with Him. A right relationship will usually cultivate similar interests and priorities. Yet the elder brotherhad no idea why the father would rejoice over his son’s return.

Third, it is possible to be an heir of all our Father possesses yet have less joy and liberty than one who possesses nothing. The servants were happier than the elder son. They ate, laughed and danced while he stood on the outside demanding his rights.

A wrong attitude kept the elder brother away from the heart’s desire of the father, the love of his brother and the joy of the servants. Wrong attitudes in our lives  will block the blessings of God and cause us to live below God’s potential for our lives.

Attitude Application:

When our attitude begins to erode like the elder brother’s we should rememeber two things:

  1. Our privilege: “My child, you have always been with me” (Luke 15:31)
  2. Our possessions: “All that is mine is yours” (Luke 15:31).

Take a moment to list your privileges and possessions in Christ. How rich we are!

 About John C. Maxwell

John C. Maxwell is an internationally renowned pastor, leadership expert, coach, and author who has sold over 21 million books. Dr. Maxwell founded EQUIP and the John Maxwell Company, organizations that have trained more than 5 million leaders in 174 countries. Every year he speaks to Fortune 100 companies, international government leaders, and organizations such as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership has sold more than 2 million copies. Developing the Leader Within You and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold more than 1 million copies. The article above was adapted from the encouraging and practical book by John C. Maxwell. The Winning Attitude: Your Pathway to Personal Success. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001, Chapter 3.

You can read his blog at JohnMaxwellOnLeadership.com, follow him at Twitter.com/JohnCMaxwell, and learn more about him at JohnMaxwell.com.

Dr. Gleason L. Archer on the Question: Does Proverbs 22:6 Always Work for the Children of Believers?

Proverbs 22:6 – One of The Most Misunderstood Bible Verses

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (NASB). The NIV renders the second line thus: “And when he is old he will not turn from it.”

 Does Proverbs 22:6 always work for the children of believers?

Before discussing the practical application of this verse, we should examine quite carefully what it actually says. The literal rendering of the Hebrew is “Initiate, train the boy” (na’ar refers to a young male from childhood until he reaches majority); the verb does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament with the meaning “train up.” Normally the verb means “dedicate” (a house or a temple [Deut. 20:5; 1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chron. 7:5], or else a dedication offering [Num. 7:10]). This seems to be a cognate with the Egyptian h-n-k-n-k (“give to the gods,” “set up something for divine service”).

This gives us the following range of possible meanings: “Dedicate the child to God,” “Prepare the child for his future responsibilities,” “Exercise or train the child for adulthood.”

Next we come to what is translated “in the way he should go.” Literally, it is “according to his way” (’al-pîC darkôC); ‘al-pîC (lit., “according to the mouth of”) generally means “after the measure of,” “conformably to,” or “according to.” As for darkôC, it comes from dere (“way”); and this may refer to “the general custom of, the nature of, the way of acting, the behavior pattern of” a person. This seems to imply that the manner of instruction is to be governed by the child’s own stage of life, according to his personal bent, or else, as the standard translations render it, according to the way that is proper for him—in the light of God’s revealed will, according to the standards of his community or his cultural heritage. In this highly theological, God-centered context (“Yahweh is the maker” of both the rich and the poor [v.2]; “The reward of humility and the fear of Yahweh is riches, honor, and life” [v.4]), there can be little doubt that “his way” here implies “his proper way” in the light of the goals and standards set forth in v.4 and tragically neglected by the “perverse” in v.5. Yet there may also be a connotation that each child is to be reared and trained for God’s service according to the child’s own personal and peculiar needs and traits.

The second line reads gam kîC (“even when”) yazqîCn (“he gets old”—zāqēn is the word for “old” or “an elder”), lō’ yāsûCr (“he will not turn away”) mimmennāh (“from it,” i.e., from his derek), which seems to strengthen the interpretation “his proper way,” “behavior pattern,” or “lifestyle” as a well-trained man of God or good citizen in his community.

What this all adds up to, then, is the general principle (and all the general maxims in Proverbs concerning human conduct are of this character, rather than laying down absolute guarantees to which there may never be an exception) that when a godly parent gives proper attention to the training of his child for adult responsibility and for a well-ordered life lived for God, then he may confidently expect that that child—even though he may stray during his young adulthood—will never be able to get away completely from his parental training and from the example of a Godfearing home. Even when he becomes old, he will not depart from it. Or else, this gam kîC may imply that he will remain true to this training throughout his life, even when he gets old.

Does this verse furnish us with an iron-clad guarantee that all the children of conscientious, God-fearing, nobly living parents will turn out to be true servants of God? Will there never be any rebellious children, who will turn their backs on their upbringing and fall into the guilt and shame of a Satan-dominated life? One might construe the verse that way, perhaps; but it is more than doubtful that the inspired Hebrew author meant it as an absolute promise that would apply in every case. These maxims are meant to be good, sound, helpful advice; they are not presented as surefire promises of infallible success.

The same sort of generality is found in Proverbs 22:15: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (NASB). This surely does not mean that all children are equally willful and rebellious and that all of them stand in need of the same amount and type of discipline. Nor does it guarantee that a person brought up in a well-disciplined home will never stray off into the folly of sin. There may be exceptions who turn out to be worldly-minded egotists or even lawbreakers who end up in prison. But the rate of success in childrearing is extremely high when the parents follow the guidelines of Proverbs.

What are those guidelines? Children are to be accepted as sacred trusts from God; they are to be trained, cherished, and disciplined with love; and they are to be guided by a consistent pattern of godliness followed by the parents themselves. This is what is meant by bringing them up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This type of training implies a policy of treating children as even more important than one’s own personal convenience or social life away from home. It means impressing on them that they are very important persons in their own right because they are loved by God, and because He has a wonderful and perfect plan for their lives. Parents who have faithfully followed these principles and practices in rearing their children may safely entrust them as adults to the keeping and guidance of God and feel no sense of personal guilt if a child later veers off course. They have done their best before God. The rest is up to each child himself.

Article adapted from the outstanding reference book by Dr. Gleason L. Archer Jr., New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series) (Kindle Locations 6571-6579). Grand Rapids: Zondervan (Reprinted 2011).

 About Dr. Gleason L. Archer

Gleason L. Archer Jr. (1916-2004 – B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University; B.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; L.L.B., Suffolk Law School) was a biblical scholar, theologian, educator, and author. He served as an assistant pastor of Park Street Church in Boston from 1945 to 1948. He was a Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary for 16 years, teaching New Testament, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic. From 1965 to 1986 he served as a Professor of Old Testament and Semitics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He became an emeritus faculty member in 1989. He also served for many years as a minister of the Evangelical Free Church of America.

The remainder of his life was spent researching, writing, and lecturing. Archer served as one of the 50 original translators of the NASB published in 1971. He also worked on the team which translated the NIV Bible published in 1978. I give this introduction, because many people are not familiar with Archer (unfortunately), but he was a brilliant Christian scholar who could have excelled as a lawyer (his father was the founder and president of Suffolk Law School), and chose to use his exceptional gifts to defend the inerrancy and integrity of the Scriptures over the span of his entire adult life. I would say that along with Bruce Waltke and Walter Kaiser Jr., he was one of the most influential Old Testament Evangelical Scholars at the end of the Twentieth Century. Legend has it, (I have not been able to verify whether this is 100% true or not) that he was so gifted in languages that for fun (and as a challenge) he would study the Bible in a different language every year to continue to grow and develop mentally.

10 Ways To Be a Better Dad

Condensed from Michael Howden in Christian News Northwest:  

LOVE YOUR CHILDREN’S MOTHER

It is a precious gift a father passes on to his children.

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN

At the end of each week, look and see where time was spent.

EARN YOUR CHILDREN’S EAR

Develop communication out of just the negative.

DISCIPLINE WITH LOVE

Guidance and discipline are lacking today, but be sure they are a function of love and not just a reaction.

BE A ROLE MODEL

Both sons and daughters will shape patterns and expectations based on what you say and do.

BE A TEACHER

No one can replace what dad alone can teach.

EAT TOGETHER AS A FAMILY

It is one of the easiest ways to bring everyone’s days together, but so easy to crowd off the schedule.

READ TO YOUR CHILDREN

While many kids lean on technology, there should also be times when they learn from books and dad together.

SHOW AFFECTION

Their security grows with each hug.

REALIZE THAT A FATHER’S JOB IS NEVER DONE

Time with them is short. Make the most of it!

10 Ideas for Making a Memorable Mother’s Day

(1) Have a florist deliver a corsage and on the card tell her you’re taking her to dinner.

(2) Create a May-to-May calendar using family pictures. Place a star on a day each month for a special date you will have with her.

(3) Gather scrapbook supplies and spend the day working on it together.

(4) Plant some colorful summer flowers in her yard and/or patio pots.

(5) Have each family member write a special memory they have of her. Tuck each note in a separate Mother’s Day card selected or created by each individual.

(6) Prepare a picnic lunch and let her pick the place it will be enjoyed.

(7) Have the family gather around her and ask her to share favorite memories of her childhood. Be sure to have a video or tape/cd recorder going.

(8) Give her a basket full of thing that help her relax. Include a long, narrow tablet and ask her to list things she’s been wishing help with, Recruit family members to get jobs done in the next few weeks.

(9) Give the gift of your time by helping her sort through pictures and bring her photo album up-to-date.

(10) Remember to tell her how much you love her and what you love about her.

*List compiled by Marilyn Mcauley – mother of three, grandmother of six.