Greed grabs, Gratitude gives!

Can you believe that the year 2015 is about a month away from being over? The fall season is winding down and I can already feel the chill of winter coming upon us. This could only mean one thing: Thanksgiving is here.

For many of us Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to take time from our jobs to see family who may be far away from us (or close to us), eat some good food, and watch some football.

It seems though that more and more Thanksgiving is being forgotten. This year I’ve seen Christmas decorations come out before Halloween, and Black Friday hours starting earlier and earlier. I can only conclude one thing: Our culture is becoming less and less thankful.

Christmas, to the world, has become about getting things. And it’s not just about getting things; it’s about getting things as early as you can. Stores open to encourage all of us on Thanksgiving Day to forget about the time that we could spend with our family, and instead to spend the most money we can in one day. The holiday that is supposed to remind us about all the things we are grateful for, is now turned in to all the things that we can consume.

I am so thankful that when I grew up family time was made a priority. I cannot tell you what I got when I was 15 for Christmas, but I can definitely tell you many Thanksgiving stories that I have with my family through the years.

I encourage all of you this year to make some memories, start some traditions with your family which involves giving to others to really fulfill you. Full gratitude comes through Christ. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God gives us what we need. Remember Acts 20:35, that is better to give than to receive.

This Thanksgiving, I want to challenge families to ask a couple questions, “How can I show my family gratitude instead of greed this year?”, “What can my family do this Thanksgiving for someone else?”, and “What traditions can I start this year with my family which displays gratitude”?

I pray that we can be families that grab less, and give more.

Happy Thanksgiving!




Leadership In the Home

Placing blame on others, victim thinking, and procrastination remain deeply embedded in our culture, as a lack of personal accountability persists in our society. Is it possible that when people at work, church or school place blame and whine, it’s because they were taught to do so at home? And that these dangerous ways of acting and thinking were modeled for them – by mom and dad?!

Leadership begins at home. Until Mom and Dad choose to practice personal accountability in their lives, not much will change – anywhere. Societal problems, which include all the problems found within our organizations, are often rooted in the family.

As parents, we need to ask, “Am I raising children who blame their teachers when they get a poor grade?” We need to do an attitude check of our own parenting; are we failing to develop personal accountability in our children?

Rather than wondering. “When will my daughter start getting her homework done on time?” we need to ask, “Am I getting my home work done, or do I procrastinate and leave the house a mess?” Parents who are good leaders know this: Modeling is the most powerful form of teaching. Dads and moms who accept the mantle of home leadership accept that they – not sports stars, pop culture icons, or Hollywood celebrities – are the role models for their kids.

Leadership at home is captured in this statement: My child is a product of my parenting. Any other view of parenting is irresponsible folly. Excuse-making is never part of a leader’s world. Moms and dads who really grasp that victim thinking is a disease spread from the parents to the kids – that blame is taught and caught, and that procrastination is learned – know what will happen should they fail to fulfill their job at home.

Troubled youth can come from good parenting homes. However, all troubled youth are caught in the web of lacking personal accountability, and there is something we as parents can do to improve that by modeling and training our children in the way they should go, by modeling and teaching personal accountability.


Children and Self Discipline

Ah, Children! We love them with the type of love God created between parents and children. It is designed to be a love that will protect, provide, and guide the children while they walk the path God has planned specifically for them.

“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.” Ephesians 6:1. That is God’s instruction to our kids.

I like to tell the kids in our Children’s Ministry about the one time I tried to “back-talk” my mother. It backfired badly! I did not try it again. She made it known that this behavior was unacceptable and I was to respect her. I tell the kids that it is totally possible to not defiantly talk back to their parents. Many of the children are amazed to consider themselves never doing it again.

Teaching children self discipline will help ready them for life’s challenges. Below are 7 tips for teaching children self discipline.

  1. Teach children to come when they are called. (Not yell “what?” from across the house.
  2. Teach children to respond positively to correction. This is a tough one, but children learning to control an impulse to be angry about correction are learning a life-long skill.
  3. Social skills that require self discipline include learning to listen, anger control, and learning when it is appropriate to interrupt a conversation.
  4. Encourage children to participate in self discipline building activities such as learning how to play an instrument. Also, sports, caring for pets, cleaning their room, and many others, are important ways to learn self discipline.
  5. Recognizing your child when he receives a reward helps to positively reinforce a job well done.
  6. Use bedtimes to teach self discipline. Set a time and develop a routine that is done every night. Teaching a child to quietly stay in bed while you are still awake takes a lot of work, but it definitely pays off in the end.
  7. Morning routines and chores are ways to learn responsibility. The rewards for being responsible are called privileges. A child who is responsible to be ready on time in the morning is then rewarded by an extra 15 minutes at night or something equivalent.

Self discipline is ultimately a large part of a person’s character. We as parents want our children to become the kind of adults whom are self sufficient.



Who’s In Control?

Jesus said, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” When we read those words or talk about the disciples following Him, the most amazing part is that they left what they knew to follow Jesus. They had no idea the places He would take them, the things that He would teach them, or certainly how it would end; or shall I say begin. I would love to think that I would have gone if called in that moment. However, there is a good chance that I would have declined. Honestly, true discipleship isn’t easy and true discipleship goes against our very nature. First, we are comfortable. We like things just the way they are. There are churches that sometimes fall into this category of being content with the current “sheep pen”, and almost go out of their way to make sure that the pen stays the same size. Why do we do that? I feel it’s because we are creatures of habit. We sit in the same pew (chief sinner here), we go to the same places to eat, and do the same daily routines. So, what is the common denominator in being comfortable or retaining habits? I believe we do these things because they are the things we can CONTROL. The real beauty about the disciples and their first steps away from all that they knew to follow Christ was by doing so they were essentially saying, “We don’t know where we’re going, but we’re ready to follow the One who is in control of all things”. What would it take to allow Christ that opportunity in your life? If we would only do so imagine the places we could go.