Tag Archives: Family

Still Buzzing! Unforgettable Time

How in the world do I even begin to describe the elation, excitement, and joy that I have felt this week since this past Sunday.  As I shared last week, I was afforded the honor of baptizing my wife, Amber, and our three teenagers on Sunday.  I’ve spoken in front of various sized groups in the past on different things, but this experience was something that was so different.  It was by far the largest crowd I’ve ever been in front of.  People I know and love.  Usually nerves would hit me with something like that, but in this case, it was was like the Holy Spirit took a hold of me and led me through it all.  I had no worries, no nerves, just pure excitement and joy.

What was even bigger was the impact, not only in the statement we made as a family and I as the head of my home, but in the way this ministered to so many people who needed something like this.  My friend and pastor, Tim, called me afterwards telling me that this would go down as the most memorable moment of my life and the power of the moment was huge.  The impact that this moment made to people was immense.  God really used our family to send a message that we can be united in Him.  We can come alive in Christ and forge ahead as a family and with our own individual identities in Christ.

I write this and share this not to boast about my own doings, but to share just what the power of the Holy Spirit and being fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus can do, not just for your life, but for others.  It has made my family light-up and I firmly believe that this one act.  This 5 minute moment sent a ripple effect that I’m certain will last across the Body.

I’m standing on cloud nine from the events of this week. I look forward to a continued life of growth and sanctification with my wife and as our children move forward.  I’m glad to have been able to share this and I wanted to share this with all of you as well.  God Bless!

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Exciting Growth

WAH_BootCampI get amazed every day at the works of the God and how He works in our lives and in those around us.  As I wrote the other day, a year ago, my life was forever transformed when I venture out to Colorado for the Wild at Heart Boot Camp. The Lord transformed me in such a way, causing me to change the way I live and the way I look at life.  It also changed my outlook and approach as a husband and dad.  I had always done the best I thought I knew as a husband and father, but I was still falling way short in many ways.  I didn’t know how to truly be godly husband and father and lead my family the way they deserved to be led and the way God has called me to lead them.

The transformation has been tremendous in that it has resonated from my life to my wife and children.  They are the most precious people in this world to me and to see them respond has been so amazing.  I think we’ve always had a strong marriage, but I truly believe that my wife, Amber, and I are closer than we have ever been with a truly Christ centered relationship.  To see Amber grow has been so amazing.  It used to be that we would argue over matters of faith, because I was dragging her along in it.  I didn’t know how to approach it.  Now she is so alive.  In God’s Word daily getting to know Him personally and then our conversations on what we read and just life are so full of substance and life.

For my kids, they have grown a great deal as well.  They are all very quite and reserved like their parents, but they have responded in so many great ways as well in their desire to learn more.  Our conversations have deeper substance about life and faith.  It’s not just about superficial things.  They are realizing the priorities in life and are each excited about using the gifts God has blessed them with out in the world in a such a way that glorifies Him.

baptism_deadtosin_0005_group-1-e1321461157261With all this life change, this Sunday, January 31, one year to the day from when I nailed the stake in the ground to follow Christ no matter the cost, I will be Baptizing my wife and our 3 children.  It’s such an exciting time for our family and huge testimony and statement to how far we’ve come in just the last year.  To stand before our church family with my family as they also have nailed that stake in the ground is just beyond any words I can really put together.  I am proud of each of them for being willing to take this step in obedience in their walk with Christ.

This is a testament of what can happen when, as men, we take the steps to truly lead our wives and our children in a real and godly manner.  I have this resolution on a wall in my house that concludes with “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15.  That was hung up nearly 4 year ago, but it was not until 3 years later that it became real truth.  That I shed the poser and false self and begin walking with God as I was supposed to be and my family has responded to this.  My wife just glows with the light of Holy Spirit now.  Her beauty is even more tremendous than it has ever been.  Our children, while they still battle as teenagers with daily life, have really come a great distance as well and you can see the Lord’s work in them.

HisFavorite-01We are all God’s favorite.  He has had us in mind from before the beginning.  In John 17:22-23 Jesus, in His prayer to the Father says, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me.  May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  I’m thankful to have realized that through Christ we are united now with the Father and that He loves us as much as He loves the Son.  To now reflect the love of the Father with my family, they now know they are also loved deeply by me and the Father.  They know where I stand now, no longer waffling back and forth unsure of life, but now with the confidence of 10 men knowing where I stand now alive in Christ and they are responding.  It’s tremendous and the Lord’s work will continue as we are now stronger than ever before.

“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian… and most of all, his family ought to know.” – D.L. Moody

Rest From Life’s Distractions and Noises

I feel like it has been forever since I last wrote anything.  These last two month’s have been so full that it has pulled me away from my writing.  We all face those times where we are just so jammed up and full of activities and work in our lives that we don’t take those times for ourselves and our personal focus and attention to our life and faith.  We get so busy that even though we try to keep ourselves on point, it gets very difficult to to.

As an example, I have a daily habit of spending time in Scripture and prayer and then keeping my prayer journal to reflect on what I read and on my day and whatever thoughts come around for that day to reflect on.  I have been in Scripture everyday for the past 3 years or so and started journaling at the start of this year.  The last couple of month’s however, I noticed something.  I was not writing everyday.  I still read Scripture everyday, but I was not writing.  I would just brush this off as if there was just not much to write on that day, but there was more to it.  It came to head in the last week or so.  I really started to realize that my mind and life had been so jammed up and filled with noise that I could not focus enough to write anything.  Case in point, I have not written on this blog since early August right before a business trip to Colorado.

Since then, my work has been absolutely crazy, my poor wife was in the hospital in early September and of course kids activities for the fall have just kept so many distractions up.  I am not complaining, but what I realized is that I was letting so much noise get in my head, that my heart was not as focused on my faith as it should be and on ensuring my mind and my heart were clear and focused.

Our worlds are full of chaos and noise.  What I have come to realize is that through it all, we have to take time for ourselves to rest and refocus.  Get away from the craziness or life in some way to get reconnected with God in your life and with your family.  What’s the safety tip always given on an airplane if the oxygen masks come down?  Always secure your mask before helping others.    We have to make sure we take that time to ensure we are taken care of ourselves, otherwise it makes everything else that much harder.

I’m going to write more about this later, but this past weekend, my sons and I went on our first deer hunt together.  It was not long, but we spent about 5 hours in our deer blind Saturday morning. What a great time it was for us.  We got just hang out, but what else I loved was just sitting there and looking around.  Listening to the trees in the breeze, watching squirrels and a raccoon running around and the couple of deer we saw come up in range of our bows, but not where we could shoot this time around.  I was in complete awe of the beauty of it all.  This is all God’s creation that He saw was good.  It is absolute beauty.  There were no other worries other than just taking it all in.

I’m to chronicle our hunts on another blog really soon, but I just had to share this because, this was what really opened my eyes again.  I felt like I was reconnecting with God.  Just as I am when I sent in solitude on the beach, I felt the same way sitting in silence in the woods on a crisp Fall morning.  I realized I need to ensure I take those times to just reconnect.  It certainly helped me refocus myself.  While the busy life will always be there with work and 3 kids and my beautiful wife, I know I need those moments to give my heart and my mind the rest it needs to press that reset button and ensure I don’t lose sight of my God and all that He has created me for and all that He is in my life and that I stay connected with Him fully which helps me stay connected with my family and everything else even better.

Good to be back writing again.  I’ve certainly missed it these past couple months.

Don’t Lose Precious Time

I hope everyone is having a great summer so far.  It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of July already.  Time just seems to move faster and faster as the years role on.  With all of the chaos that comes through our lives, often times there is something that gets put on the sideline, whether unintentional or intentional.  This is the time we spend with our loved ones.  Namely our spouses and children but also other family that may be close to us and even friends.  We may get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget that precious time we have.

I just returned from a wonderful 10 days on the Gulf Coast with my wife and kids.  This was a first full vacation away like this where we had nothing going on accept our time together and a big ocean in front of us.  It was a wonderful time for all of us.  We got a chance to unwind and sit on the sand or play in the ocean.  We even went on spontaneous outings to wherever we felt that night, whether out for ice cream, to one of the amusement parks in Panama City or whatever.  It was a great feeling to not worry about anything else and to have that time.  Something I cherish very much.

Often times, vacation may be the only time we get to spend quality time with our loved ones.  Work may get in the way or other calendar filling things that take away from quality time.  So what do you when you get back home and get back to the grind?  Do you go back to business as usual and everyone goes their way?  Everyone has different routines in their lives.

I have made it a point  that I was going to maximize as much time as I could with my family.  I freely and willingly take on the responsibility of providing for my family and raising our kids right and solid character.  I have made it a point, however, that I would never sacrifice my time for them to be so caught-up in work that I lost sight of them.  If my kids wanted me to go out and play with them I made sure I made the time for it.  I have been called a clock-watcher before in my work, but I make no excuses of the fact that I look forward to stepping away and getting back to my family.  Now-a-days I work from my house a great deal.  I have heard many people tell me they could not be home all the time.  I tell you this, I would work hear every day if I could if it meant I could be with my wife and kids every day.  That’s just the way I am.

The same holds true for the time with my wife, Amber.  Some say they could never work with their spouse and need that separation each day.  Granted, we all need our moments of solitude, which I have written about before and will talk about again very soon, but I cherish every day I get to be with my wife.  We were married at 18 and from that time have always wanted to be by each other’s side.  Now 17 years later that just as strong.  I love being in my home office when she is here as well.  Just being close is what matters.  It’s precious time.

Now I don’t say all of this about myself to guilt anyone.  This is the way I am.  I live for my God and for my wife and kids not to be away from any of them.  I cherish every moment of everyday I get to spend with God in His Word, writing, and prayer.  I also cherish every waking moment I am with my wife and kids.

My point is this folks.  We all have very limited time in this life.  We have very limited time with our spouses and even more limited time with our kids before they grow and move on to their new lives.  I know my time with them is running short as I have 2 almost 3 teenagers.  Cherish every moment you have folks.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so we have to make the most of what The Lord blesses us with while we are hear before He calls us Home.

Make sure you don’t take your time with your family for granted and squander those opportunities to be with them no matter what.  Never put insignificant priorities before them.  Never get so caught up in your work that you waste that time.  You don’t want to live with the regret of having lost that time.  Our time is short, our time with those we love is precious and just as short if not shorter.  Make the most of those relationships.

We Need Dad’s In This World

Yesterday, we celebrated Father’s Day where we show appreciation to Father’s everywhere.  Many of you know my story and know my Dad was lost a few years back.  Father’s Day is a little different for me since then, but I also have the blessing to be a Dad to three awesome kinds.  I am thankful to God that he has blessed me with the responsibility and privilege to be a part of raising these boys and girl along with my wife.

I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me yesterday in worship when I heard the crazy statistics about kids growing up without a father in the home.  This shouldn’t be news to anyone but it’s rather alarming to know how many kids out there grow-up without a father in the home (over a third of kids).  If you dig deeper, you will see a greater number of kids that grow-up without a Dad, whether there is a present father or not.  What really was striking me was how much this issue has become so normal and almost acceptable in our society today.  Guys make it too easy to step away from the responsibility of being a Dad and walk out on their homes or just check-out and refuse to be involved in the lives of their children.

This issue just frustrates, because it’s difficult for me to comprehend the thought of my kids growing up without me in their lives and involved in their lives.  I could have easily taken a different road.  I became a Dad very young.  When we first found out about it, I was scared to death of what kind of Dad I would be.  I knew it was a responsibility I had though and wouldn’t pass-up on it for the world.  Each and every kid we have in this world is a new blessing and God given opportunity that none of us should throw away.

I am not trying to diminish single-moms out their at all.  I applaud each of you for your efforts when left alone to raise children.  This goes to the, so-called men out their who skip on the opportunity and responsibility to raise their children in the way of Lord and be involved in every aspect of growing-up.  Don’t put career or other things of this world ahead of your family.  Keep God first and raise your children as a spiritual leader.  Teach them to seek God in their lives and walk closer with Jesus.

Psalm 127 3-5 says this.  “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are reward from him.  Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.”

They are a gift from God.  Don’t throw away such a precious gift and don’t be just a father.  Be a Dad.  This world needs more Dads in this world and not men who are checked-out of their children’s lives and their spouses as well.  Don’t leave women to raise these children on their own.  Lead your home and lead your children the way you were intended to.  Step-up and be a real man and don’t abandon your children.  Just read the statistics and read the stories of difficulty for people who grew-up with single parents.  That tells you enough.  There are also plenty of stories out there of men who are home, but completely check-out because of career or other issues and the impact it has on their children.

I’m not here to provide some quick fix steps for being a better Dad.  I’ve had to learn myself along the way as we all do.  There is not an easy guide for parenting.  People try to throw these together to sell what they think works, but in reality we all have to learn along the way.  It’s not easy, but step-up and take it head-on.  You won’t regret it if you try.  Anyone can be father, but it takes a real man to be a Dad.  We need more Dad’s in this world.  Don’t check-out and don’t walk-out.

How Do You Define Success?

I have been fairly quite these past couple of weeks.  This is that time of year where my family is constantly on the go.  We have travel baseball, travel softball, and archery.  The schedule for the kids get so hectic from week to week and this weekend, the tournament schedule begins for our two younger ones and our oldest is competing in the state DECA competition with his high school.  Despite all of this, we love every bit of it.  We only have our children with us for so long, and we have made it a point to ensure that we enable them to have every opportunity to pursue their passions.  It is a joy to watch them all doing things they love to do and excel at what they do.

With all of that said, having such a hectic life can be a recipe for tearing at the relationships in the home and in life.  The same holds true for people that get so caught up in the craziness of work and forget about home as well.  Amber and I make it a point to take advantage of those times when we are not on the go to spend with one another and do things as a family to ensure we do not lose touch with each other.  I know we are not the only ones that do, but it is important to point out how significant this can be.  If the busy life causes you to lose sight of the important things in life, especially your family, how in the world can you ever call yourself successful.

As with most blogs I write, there is a key quote that goes along with it.  The quote I found today was great and comes from the late Zig Ziglar.  Mr. Ziglar stated, “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”

I know many people that are so steadfastly focused on their work or other busy goings on in life that they forget the focus needed on the home life.  It is all about balance.  This was the reason I call my venture 4 Pillar Living.  There is a balance to every aspect of life that needs our focus and attention, but we cannot get so focused in one area that we neglect other areas.  You can never be truly successful that way.  I believe success is attained when you are able to balance each of these key pillars of life in a way that they begin to compliment one another.

I’ll go back to my original example of the busy schedules of our children.  If Amber and I were strictly all about the kids events and activities and did not take time for another that would hurt our marriage.  We take the time to unwind and spend together.  Even if it is just sitting on the couch together late in the evening after the kids are in bed.  When I am working from the house we make it a point as much as possible to get out and go to lunch together.  That is our time to spend with each other.  Even if I have a busy day with work, I make sure I step away to spend my time with her.  What good am I if I focus on work, work, work and neglect her or even my family.  That is the way to disaster in the home.

These are things I have learned over time.  I stumble at times, but I have learned and work to improve on each of these areas of life.  The same holds true when it comes to my faith.  I can balance my life with work and family, but if I neglect my faith and my walk with God, how can I ever be truly successful.  He created me for purpose, just like the rest of us and if I neglect that, then I cannot be successful.  As Mr. Ziglar said it is a balance of success stories.  You have to be able to find success in each area, in each pillar.  Don’t neglect one over the other.  Find success in each area then you can be successful.

An Unconditional Covenant

One of the 4 big pillars I have found in life revolves around marriage and the family.  I want to take a moment to talk specifically about marriage.  In my coming book “4 Pillars to Coming Alive”, I talk in much greater detail about this and each of the 4 pillars.  Here at 4 Pillar Living, I will talk about different segments as we go forward and even give some teasers as to what my new book will entail.

Marriage is a union that in many ways has seem to have lost a sense of importance today.  For many, life becomes so hectic and busy with work, kids activities, and a multitude of other things that many couples forget to take the time to just focus on one another.  I want to write for a bit today about this sacred unity that many of us are blessed to be able to take part in.  If you have not yet, this will also apply if you happen to venture down this road.  Now, I am not the world’s foremost expert by any stretch, but what I do have is a lot of conviction and life experience in this area.  My bride and I have been married for 15, going on 16 years.  We were married very young, but did that intentionally and knew we wanted to grow together and for the rest of our lives.  We have been on quite a journey and I have learned a lot about what it takes to make a marriage work and how a marriage that is healthy, helps you come alive.

What is so vital in any marriage, I don’t care who you are, is a focus of unconditional love.  Too many times these days, couples make it easy for the distractions of life, to influence their mind to where their love for their spouse starts to come with conditions.  This could be in disagreements or struggles with bills and finances or any of a number of other things.  I have seen marriage struggles around me over the years.  Many times it falls down to the same kind of thing conditions were not met which destroyed the fabric of their union.

Our love for one another is not meant to have conditions around it.  It is meant to be a reflection of the unconditional love that God has shown us even when we are not worthy of it.  No matter how much we fall, because Christ came and died for us and was risen to life again, He is always their to take us back.  This is the ultimate showing of unconditional love.  Our marriages with that one person that we are meant to cleave to for life is to be a reflection of that love.  Love endures all and choosing to love unconditionally just has God did for us will go a long way for your own marriage.

Now for some, I may be preaching to the choir, and for others, you may think what is all this love stuff.  This is the very fabric of who we are though.  If you have any struggles there that try to rip at your marriage, you should vow to stay strong and together with your spouse you can get through it all.  Don’t turn to blaming one or the other for their faults.  Instead resolve to get through any situation together.  Remember, now that you are married, you are no longer two.  You are one.  A union that is never to be broken.  Resolve with your spouse to build an everlasting covenant together.  One that is built on unconditional love.  Doing so will enable you to get through any challenge in life together.

More to come on this in the future…