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Our Father Isn’t

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OurFather

Our Father Isn’t Passive and He Doesn’t Provoke Us

Happy Father’s Day! 

Thank you, fathers, for all that you do to lead your families, love your wives, and raise your children to serve God with a lasting faith!  There is literally no higher calling that we could aspire to.

On this special day, let’s remember how fortunate we are to have the Perfect Father.  He has been a Father for an eternity, and He fathers us perfectly.

If you’ve been a father very long you know that fathering is a hard job.  Some days we are too passive and don’t fight for their hearts.  Some days we are too harsh and we just provoke them.  Most of us tend towards one ditch or the other.  But our Father’s love is perfect, and He loves us just how we are!  He is kind and loving, and He is powerfully fighting for our hearts.  No matter what we have messed up He is right there, running out to meet us.  Whether we are the ungrateful prodigal son or the ungrateful judgmental son, this is true of Our Father’s love for us:

It chases me down, fights til I’m found, leave the 99.

I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still you give Yourself away.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

There’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up, coming after me.

There’s no wall you won’t kick down, lie you won’t tear down, coming after me.

He loves us and He is aggressively coming after us to rescue us and reconcile with us.  He desires a relationship with us like the relationship He has with His Son, our Brother and Friend.  He is truly a good, good Father!

Do you ever feel like you have to do this on your own?  Like you have to be a man when deep down you feel like a boy?  Do you wonder if you have what it takes?  You can rest in the kind, assertive, powerful, love of Your Father.

 

 

 

Starting A Lifelong Conversation With Our Teens to Equip Them For the New Culture

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Conversations

We have found a video that you have to watch tonight or tomorrow!

Our oldest is entering into the pre-teen phase and we are looking for backup.  How can we help her transition from childhood to adulthood?  We have stumbled upon something that we just had to share:  The Parenting Teens Summit.  Axis.org has assembled an all-star team of experts to cover a variety of issues that our teens will face:

  • Ravi Zacharias and Timothy Keller: Titans of theology in the real world
  • Kara Powell: The guru on instilling a lasting faith in our kids
  • Gary Chapman: Mr., sorry, “Dr. Five Love Languages”
  • John Eldredge: (Needs no introduction if you follow our blog)
  • And many more really smart people

Not convinced yet?  From their website:  “Join us for this online conference! Faithful Christian authors & thought leaders will provide practical talks to help you parent your teens.  Know their culture, develop their hearts, and connect the generations to build lifelong faith!”

Discipling Our Kids:  Our Culture Has Answers.  Do You?

We watched the first video last night and it was awesome.  The topic was our Culture and the speaker did a fabulous job of breaking it down to the essential questions:

  • What is my identity? Am I the image of God, fractured by sin, but restored through Christ?
  • What is the purpose of money, physical intimacy, college, and life itself? Do we know?  What does our Culture say?  Is that true?

For example, our culture has elevated affluence, safety, security, and instant gratification.  Our culture has normalized the idea that my happiness is the ultimate goal.  It has discarded old notions of truth, goodness, and beauty.  It has ignored character and the virtues and replaced these with personality.  Our culture tells us that what we feel and what we desire is more important than what is real and what is right.  It has normalized physical intimacy without relationship and magnification of the trivial.  This is our culture.  This is normal now.

What I liked about this video is that it is not a rant against our culture.  And it is not a celebration of the culture either.  It is practical training that equips us to begin a lifelong conversation with our kids.  As we have said before, we need to be students of our children.  This video series will help us become better students of our kids by helping us understand the culture that is shaping them.

We don’t need to be terrified or even discouraged about the culture around us.  We are the primary influence in our kids’ lives.  It is up to us to use that influence by talking with our kids about life’s questions.  It takes courage, but we can do it!

Details:

Here is the link:  https://parentingteenssummit.com/home

The event takes place June 1-15.  Each video is available for you to watch for free for 72 hours.   Sign up and enjoy the Vimeo –it’s as simple as that.
(If you want permanent access you can buy that also.)

Watch the video and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Learn more about OPL’s take on parenting by clicking on the Family – Parenting menu.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Not Perfect but REAL!

Who Am I?

Parents As Teachers

A Frozen Conversation

Would You Rather?

 

Pumpkin Fun

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Do your kids think that pumpkins come from Walmart?  If so, a trip to the pumpkin patch might be a good activity this fall.

We live in an entertainment-rich culture.  From tablets to bounce houses, the world is a playground.  But sometimes it is nice to do a simple activity as a family.  One of our fall traditions is a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins.  We have done this for years, and it is something we all look forward to.  As a farm boy who is transplanted into the city, I love to get my kids out to experience agriculture.  I want them to understand where food is grown, and I want them to enjoy vigorous activity that sometimes involves mud or dust.

What kind of memories do you enjoy making with your family?  How do you connect them to nature and our agrarian heritage?  What are your favorite fall activities?

Enjoy pumpkins?  Here is our post from a few years ago:

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Here is our post about shining Christ’s light at Halloween.

 

 

 

 

Planting or Pruning?

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DSC_0882

I am a farm boy and I love planting things.  We live in the suburbs, but I have a house with a half-acre lot.  We have a decent sized garden, and I have planted blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, blackberry bushes, and pear trees.  I have also planted dozens of decorative trees, bushes, plants, and flowers.  I love planting things!

I am getting ready to attend a Ransomed Heart event called “Become Good Soil.”  We received a few assignments to complete before we came, and one of them was to plant a tree.  So naturally I was stoked!  Permission, no, the requirement that I plant a tree!  “Morgan told me I have to buy a tree and plant it,” I told my wife.  As you know, God often uses the Holy Spirit in your spouse to break through to you.  “Where?” she asked.  I won’t go through the whole discussion, but after that conversation I opened myself up to God’s leading and realized that I didn’t need to plant a tree – I needed to cut one down.  We have a big yard so I could have easily planted a tree, but any additional trees I would plant would be in the way of our baseball/football/soccer games. Continue reading

I Thirst

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Cross

Without thirst, you would be dead.

As I type this, I am eating some delicious, salty pretzels, and these pretzels are making me thirsty!  And that is how it should be. God made our bodies with a complex system to balance the sodium and the water in our cells and blood, primarily through our urge to drink.  Long before Dr. Oz and our Facebook friends were around to tell us to drink water, God wired us with that longing to ensure our survival.

Have you ever noticed, though, that sometimes you can misinterpret the thirst desire?  Sometimes when I am thirsty I will reach for a snack, thinking I am hungry.  Some people have found that they can lose weight if they drink a glass of water when then feel hungry, because they have simply misinterpreted their body’s thirst and thought that it was hunger.

But sin took thirst and twisted it.  People let thirst run their life.  Coffee, beer, Diet Coke – like a toddler with a Sippy Cup, we reach out for our one little shot of happiness to get us through the next hour.  One more coffee to get us through the next meeting.  One glass of wine to get us through the evening.  Continue reading

Holiest Week With Your Kids

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Cross

Traditionally this is called Holy Week, which is a great name for it.  “Holy” is the only word that can begin to describe what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago.  But I would challenge you that this week is not the only week that is holy.  Every week can be holy.  If our year is a song, holy week is the crescendo of the chorus, which is followed by many more verses of quieter, but equally beautiful music.

Holy means ‘set apart,’ or ‘consecrated.’  Next week when your daughter gets an A+ on her math test, that is an opportunity to make something holy.  When your son is terrified of going to bed in a dark room, you can make that holy.  When you lose your temper and yell at the kids for goofing off instead of doing what you told them to do, there is holiness there too.  When you invite God into a situation, you make it holy.  When you talk about Who He is, what He has done for you, who we are in Him, and what we can do as a response, that makes it holy.

Every week is holy, if you are purposeful.

Here are some resources to make set aside this week and make it holy with your family.

Passover and Easter Fun

Crafts, food, activities and more!

April Storytime – Easter Week

Great stories and activities with your kids.

Passover With Your Kids – Simplified

Passover is an amazing tradition that reminds us of our heritage.  This is the ‘short version’ for you and your kids.

These 5 posts go a little bit deeper:

Passover: Deep Meanings Behind the Tradition

Passover From Moses to Me

Passover Meal – How To

Passover: The 4 Cups

Passover: The Seder Plate

Uncomfortable, Humble, Stinky, Beautiful Servant Leadership

Before the last Supper, Jesus showed us what “leadership” truly means.

Why We Celebrate Holidays

We love holidays – here’s why!

You Don’t Know How to Pray

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Prayer

That Is Something We Shall Have to Remedy, Isn’t It?!?

Would you like to learn how to pray from an expert?  In his new book Moving Mountains, John Eldredge unlocks the power of prayer in ways I have never read or experienced.  Infused with Scriptures and personal stories, this book is both grounded in truth and true to life.  It is part “How-To Manual,” part diary, part letter of encouragement, and part a call to action.

He sets the stage by explaining what is available to us.

Powerful, effective, life-changing prayer

Conversational intimacy with God

These are available to you and me!

Let’s stop there for a moment.  Deep down, every Christian longs for these 2 things, but that longing has been unfulfilled. Time, experience, experience, frustration has led us to believe that the descriptions of prayer in the Bible are no longer valid to the Christian experience.   At some point, many of us have given in to complacency or bitterness, savvy cynicism or theological explanations, casual indifference or caustic denial.  We think to ourselves “I tried that and it didn’t work.”  Continue reading

Reagan, Lincoln, Washington

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Lincoln

I love to learn about leadership through the good and bad decisions of people throughout history.  Although we probably won’t ever be President, we still have an important role to play.  What kind of challenges is God preparing you to face?  Will your leadership qualities and skills be ready for the task?

Coincidentally, 3 of my favorite Presidents were born in February, so it is a great time to think about their leadership through incredibly challenging times.  Here is a recap of our 5 favorite posts about leadership and history.

Lincoln: The Learning Martyr

Growing up in the Land of Lincoln made me biased, but I have a lot of respect for him.  Here is one reason.

Lincoln:  Sharpened on the Anvil of Leadership

What does Servant Leadership mean to you? For Lincoln, it meant sacrificing his life for justice and unity.

Good History

Includes my favorite history DVD and  a cool timeline of the history of everything.

Monumental Thanksgiving

I also love this documentary about some of our nation’s founders!

MLK Day

Not a President, but influential and a good person to study.

Lent – Another Chance to Get Beyond the Blur

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Cross

Have you ever stared out the side window of a car?  Even if you are only going 35 mph, the scenery is a blur.  No matter how hard you try to focus, your eyes can’t keep up.  Trees and signs and houses all go past you in an indistinct mix of shapeless colors.

Sometimes life feels like that.

I’m sure that every age has considered themselves busy, but I think that this generation has taken it to a new level.  Never before has it been so easy to sign up for everything and focus on nothing.  If we don’t say “No” five times a day then we will find ourselves enrolled in more events and opportunities than our calendar can handle.  And so, life becomes a blur.

Only by purposefully slowing down and focusing on what is important are we able to escape this rat race.  This change of focus is like looking through the front windshield instead of the side window.  By focusing our eyes on things far ahead of us, we will notice that the scenery slows down.

Paradoxically, by looking farther in the distance we see the important things more clearly.  

For Christians, Resurrection Sunday, aka Easter, is the high point of the year.  Don’t let its significance get lost in the urgency of the daily routine.

Spend some time in the next 40 days to focus your mind on Easter so that you can get beyond the blur.

 

Related Posts and Other Thoughts:

“Part of celebration is anticipation.”

-Pastor Phil Ellsworth

 

Lent: From 60 to Zero

How good are your brakes? Let’s slow our lives down as we approach Easter – we don’t want to miss it!

Lent:  A Family Tradition

Irenaeus celebrated Lent.  Do you?  Everyone knows that the pace of life gets out of control sometimes .  Lent is one way to take back control and slow down.  What are you planning to do?

Focus

When life’s pace pulls you along like whitewater rapids, what do you do to stop and focus?

Why We Celebrate Holidays

For those of you who are forgetful, distractible, and need to be entertained…have I got a deal for you!

Slowing Down at Christmas

Is it a fairy tale to think that you can slow down at Christmas?  Here are a few ideas and compromises we have made to take the hectic out of the holidays:

Valentines Day Recap

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ConversationHearts

As Christians, we know that we are to love.  Jesus said that our greatest and second greatest commands were to love God and others.  So, in some ways, Valentine’s day is as important of a holiday as any of the rest, because it celebrates Christianity’s primary characteristic.

If we are to love each other, we might as well get good at it!  Here are some of our favorite posts about how to show love to your spouse and kids.  Enjoy!

God’s Love

Happy Valentine’s Day 

God loves you!  So what else matters?!?!?!

Valentine’s and Parenting:

We love our kids, and this is a great time to show them.

Valentine’s Promises For Your Kids

Valentine’s Wreath 

Vital Words For My Girls

Vital Words For My Boys

Conversation Hearts of Love

The 1 Corinthians 13 Mom

Valentine’s and Marriage:

Here are a few of our posts about marriage.  You can find more by hovering over Men and clicking on Husband or hovering over Gals and clicking on Wife

The Foundation of Marriage Series

These books and concepts have been foundational to our marriage.

The Foundation of Marriage

Foundations of Marriage: Sacred Marriage

Foundations of Marriage: Your Most Important Customer

Foundations of Marriage: Proceed With Caution

Foundations of Marriage: Love and Respect

Foundations of Marriage: For Men and Women Only

Other Fun Marriage Posts

Guys – Creative Date Nights

It’s hard to think of good ideas, so here are a few to get you started.

Marital Intimacy Troubleshooting – Men

“Marital Intimacy” is a code word so that our posts don’t get blocked by your internet filters.  This topic is critically important to every marriage, so it stands to reason that we should try to tackle problems in this area.

Warning Husbands: T Minus 8 Days to Valentine’s

Don’t mess this up guys – it’s the same day every year.  Right after Lincoln’s birthday.  Right before Washington’s birthday.

Fun Game to Play – Spouses Only 😉

This may leave you blushing.

Gift Ideas For Your Hubby!

This may also.

Love

Valentine’s Day is a great time to reach out to the ones you love.  We hope some of these ideas are helpful.  What ideas do you have?