Thursday, June 23, 2016

Evangelicals and the 2016 Presidential Election

For many politics stink! In fact, the disgusts with politics and politicians (not all) has reached a dangerous tipping point in America. The failure of either party to accomplish anything worthwhile has ushered we citizens into a perilous time. The growing frustrations with anything political manifested itself with two candidates that are more loved to be hated than loved for anything good one might find in them.

Shockingly, the Christian community has been drug into a back and forth of name calling and intellectual spiritualism that staggers the mind. We Christians have been preached at, name called, and even mocked for daring to speak truth into the current political fray, by other Christians. You might say we have added to the frustrations with politics in our own not so spiritual ways.

The Challenge
As earlier noted, our choices for the high office of President of the United States are worse than weak. Fault is easy to find in both candidates. Neither offer a "Christian" comforting choice. Both candidates would struggle to hold any position in most Evangelical churches in America. And both candidates represent the actual ministry that Evangelicals should be engaged in - reaching people who desperately need the love and saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ bearing fruit in their lives. Yet these are our choices.

The Conflict
How should we vote? A vote for either candidate is perceived as placing the stamp of approval on their life choices and world views. We are told that to not vote at all is a vote for one candidate. We are told that neither candidate deserves a Christian vote. Some have put forth the idea of a write in option. Others have surmised that this is one election that Christians should sit out and instead focus on local and state races. Christians are calling other christians pharisees for even entertaining the idea of voting for one over the other. And so into the political mess we now add Evangelical Intellectual Spiritualism. The banner being pushed is that we as Christians lose Biblical integrity by voting one way or the other. Thus, we do harm to the cause of Christ and hinder your witness. 

The Chaos
Resulting from the conflict mentioned previously, is chaos like any I have seen in my lifetime. The Bible is used to endorse one idea over the other. We see the Bible picked apart to justify one thought and destroy another. With each passing day, the chaos grows. It will be said that this article is just one more piece thrown into the chaos. And yet I continue...

The Prize
Power is not the issue in this race for we the citizens. Neither candidate will bring to us empowerment. Even Party loses in this years elections. Both parties are being shaken to the core. A shaking that is long over due. But at stake in this election is one branch of the Federal Government for years to come. The average tenure of a Supreme Court Justice is currently just above 19% and rising. To ponder that one fact is key in discovering the truth about the prize in this years Presidential Election. The Supreme Court is the prize. 

The Hard Cold Facts
How we approach this election will effect more than you and I know. Even recent history teaches us how this one branch can traumatize and effect millions in just a short time. The next President will fill spots on the Supreme Court-several. Currently, the court leans left. And by left, I do not mean moderate. Though a few recent rulings have held close to constitutional law and interpretation, the majority of cases are now revealing a socialist/progressive slant. One might even say an unAmerican slant. And while no one can guarantee how either candidate will nominate, nor the criteria that will be applied to such a process and decision, we must understand the long term effects of such nominations and their impact. Twenty plus years is a long time. Add to the mix the ideology of Constitutional Law. Literal interpretation challenges living interpretation. Some decide based on what is written while others base decisions on what they think about what sas written. And in the case of health care, some re-write laws to make them work (a clear violation of Constitutional Law and separation of powers).

The Truth
In an effort to more clearly articulate the issue in relation to the prize, I offer the following statements for clarity of thought and understanding:

1. The Bible teaches that as Christians we are to be involved in the Government of our nation. 

2. Clearly we live in a post Christian era. 

3. Government/Politicians cannot fix the spiritual ills of our people. 

4. The right to vote and the exercise thereof cannot be taken lightly nor played with intellectually.

5. We are NOT choosing between the lesser of two evils. 

6. We will not gain spiritual integrity by sitting this election out and throwing the rule of law out the window for twenty plus years. From such we would never recover.  

7. We are to seek God in making our decision. This mess is no surprise to Him.

8. We must do all we can to have a voice for righteousness regardless of who holds the office (I am so thankful that 900 ministers actually met with one candidate and hope the other one will allow for the same).

9. We dare NOT pass over the prize seeking spiritual superiority. There is NO such thing.

10. This is NOT an easy decision.

This week over 900 clergy met with one candidate. The other candidate has so far declined any similar meeting. It saddens me to read and hear a small group of intellectual Christians casting aspirations at those in attendance. This article was formulated because of such behavior. This group has framed the case for their approach while failing to capture the deep and most pressing issue of this election, the prize. I cannot explain their reasoning. I know many of them and hold high respect for their ministries and lives. But I cannot sit by without presenting a voice of reason on behalf of the rest of us who do understand what is at stake. 

There are two issues of late that highlight this position. Marriage and Healthcare were both dealt with by the Supreme Court recently. In both cases, the Supreme Court applied flawed paths and thus ruled based on ideology and not Constitutional Law. Think about that. And then consider the effects of just those two rulings. Don't forget about the twenty pus years of tenure and the current slant of the Supreme Court.

With those examples, please explain to me again how we as Christians will be more Biblically based by not voting for either candidate? Explain to me how we are to somehow just bypass this truth and focus on other areas? 

When one considers the prize of the Supreme Court, the decision rises to a level beyond critical. And I for one will not say to my future grandchildren that I just could not vote for either candidate and not attempt to make a difference. That explanation will not hold water with them regardless of how many verses and character traits you mention. 

Since God has spoken thru donkeys in the past, I can at least seek His input and cast a vote for the best donkey of the two that He leads me to. There are no guarantees. Never have been and never will. Thankfully my hope is in Jesus and not either candidate. But my way of life and the lives of millions will be immediately effected by one simple nomination to Supreme Court. And that deserves a vote!

Update: Read this link to see a vivid picture of the principles stated from the last 13 hours 

Friday, January 30, 2015

NeedtoBreathe "Brother" a needed word for today!

Those who truly know me understand that I love music. I love all genres. Yet I am picky about one aspect of music - the message! I engulf my life in music that reinforces quality traits that are Godly and uplifting. I do the same with movies. I want to be challenged to stand strong and stay the course no matter what.

In today's world it is difficult to find this type of reinforcement.  So difficult that if you were to look at my playlists on my phone, or see the movies and shows I DVR, you might think that I am lost in the oldies.  I am actually just that selective. I know the power of influence. I know that anyone of us can get tripped up in life if we are not careful with what we allow to influence our lives.  So whether it is music from the Southern Gospel world, Praise music, real oldies, Country, or Disco from the 70's, you will find my song selection to be such that encourages me to stand and keep moving forward!

The group NeedtoBreathe just released a new song that I immediately downloaded and have been listening to all day while working. It is playing now as I type this.  The song is named "Brother".  The words of the chorus speak to my thoughts today about so many things:

Brother let me be your shelter
I'll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you're low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

The activity of today in all circles of life is attack and attack some more. Whether you are a Christian or not (and I would love to share with you about the love of Jesus if you do not know Him), you know what I mean. We see people hurting and we kick and hurt them more. Have we forgotten that the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is forgiveness. Are we so caught up in our agendas and ruthless narcissism that we are too prideful to admit that we trample on the Gospel when we fail to live it out?

I tell our people every week that as Christians we MUST be the people who embrace the hurting regardless of their failures, faults, weaknesses etc, and nurture them back to health. That is exactly what God called us to be and do. I am the first to admit that very few in my own life have done this. Most people are left to suffer and scrap their way around the ugly of this world by themselves. And some today love the ease of joining the rock throwing. And often, we may join when our intention is something else. We live in a messed up world where the mess grows by the day. But the failures of others should not stop us from our calling!

The guys of NeedtoBreathe have highlighted one of the greatest needs of our day. I could post hundreds of verses where the Bible teaches this clearly. But I will highlight this with the following passage:

1 Pet 4:8-11
8    And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
9    Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
10    As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11    If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And so I will keep praying as I sing:  "Lord, let me be the love of Christ to all I come in contact with, standing for your truth which means I must hate sin but love the sinner. Let me be a true brother in my actions and words. Thank you Lord for showing me the way! May many more "brothers" rise up in this wicked and perverse day!"

And thank you Bo, Bear and the whole NeedtoBreathe gang for writing this song to remind me of this daily! I needed it today!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

All Americans Must Decry Inciting of Police Killings

I set down in my office to do my normal Saturday evening sermon go over and prayer time. Suddenly alerts began popping up on my phone. Two police officers shot and killed execution style in New York. The disgust boiled over immediately. Words left me. My heart sunk for these officers families and for us as a nation.

What I am writing tonight has been on my heart for some time. I have withheld for concern that I might be misunderstood. But tonight it was clear, it is time many of us who know better speak up and stand up loud and clear.

The Al Sharpton's of this world are out to destroy lives while building their own bank accounts and narcissistic egos. They do not care about race. They do not care about innocent lives who have to pay the price for their gain. They are disgusting human beings. And it is time we let them know there day has come and gone.

The current climate in America is more than dangerous. Our President capitulates to a ruthless dictator.  Our Attorney General (chief law enforcement officer) plays the race card over and over. We have Elected officials in all levels of Government challenging law enforcement as if they are all to blame for the actions of thugs and criminals.

The Christian world does not escape blame. Lately the rhetoric flows from many evangelical circles that somehow this is all our fault. The inequalities of people are more than unfortunate. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ doe not in any shape or form dictate that we Christians should or can correct this. It does speak loud and clear for every Christian to live as Christ. We should live right with all men regardless of race or ethnicity. Coddling criminals and thinking we can somehow apologize for the actions of others is useless.  We can live right. And that is where our focus needs to be. We need to love all. And yet we must strongly condemn lawlessness regardless of race.

Every church I have Pastored has been multiracial including my ministry now. Our people are actually sharing a building with two other churches, both multiracial, while we relocate. We have had zero issues. Why, we live right and love all people.  It is not complicated. It does not require a summit or initiative.

The inciting of the race issue in this country is one of the greatest manipulations America has ever seen. And more than tragic is the price our law enforcement officers are paying. The ones who wake up everyday and go out and deal with the ugliest of ugly are being sacrificed for someones social engineering experiment. That is beyond disgusting. I have had enough. Have you?

We do not have to stand by and allow this garbage. I call on every American citizen to do something NOW! Stand with your law enforcement community. Respect them. Stand up to the discord sowers. Call them what they are. They are cowards seeking monetary gain. They do not care for the blacks, yellows, browns, or whites. They care only for themselves. Just like the bully on the playground, it only takes a few and they will turn, run, and hide!

Will you stand! Enough is enough!  Pray for all law enforcement officials. Thank them! Get behind them! Stand with them!

It is time for action - NOW!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Houston Mayor Pastors and Christians!

While serving as a Youth Pastor in the 1990's I remember a fellow Youth Pastor used a drama during a weekend lock-in that got more attention than he first thought it would. During the evening Worship Service for this event he had armed people storm the worship service and take him out in handcuffs. Why? He was showing the teenagers and adults what could easily happen in America if we Christians did not wake up to the trends that were developing. This Youth Pastor was labeled a radical nut and public opinion from his own church and others followed those lines. In fact, I was instructed by our Pastor to NEVER try something like that with our people.

Today, such a skit is ill advised due to the shootings that have taken place in churches. But the message of this Youth Pastor was indeed spot on. Adults in the early 90's did not see coming what now has arrived. The following article describes the first in America shakedown and intimidation of preachers.

What should we do?

1. Every Pastor needs to stand with these men.  We cannot coward from this moment. Nor should these men fight this fight alone.

2. Every Christian in America needs to join in this fight. Your spiritual lives are being threatened.

3.  We need to fight and stand in a Christian manner. This is not a time to go off on tangents. Passion is needed. But controlled passion will show the real nature and character of Christ in this battle. We need people to see Christians stand in a Christian manner thus showing them the message of salvation found in Jesus.

4.  We need not politicize this moment. Certainly the Mayor of Houston is doing just that. But should we join in his methods the real message of the issue at hand will be lost.

5.  Pastors everywhere need to educate their people on what is taking place. This education must be delivered with a passion for heaven sent revival among ourselves. We have trusted in the "American" system and history for far too long. Apathy is present in American Christianity and we need to once again beg people to cry out to God for revival.

6.  Pastors must continue to preach showing no fear. But our preaching must be Biblical, including love for all and desiring all to be saved. Hate speech and emotional rants are not found in the Bible nor should they come from us Pastors.

7.  We must fervently pray! And then fervently pray more!

America has changed and is changing. We may lose more freedoms than we ever dreamed. We may be able to prevent the loss of many freedoms. But more important than that, are the lives entrusted to each of us Pastors to teach, preach, and disciple with the Truths of God's Word.   And it is here that we are being called to faithfulness. Children and adults in other parts of the world are standing for Christ to the point of death!

What will we do?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When votes mean nothing - trouble coming to Christians in America!

Today, the Presbyterian Church USA voted to change their doctrinal wording on marriage and open the door to allow their clergy to marry homosexual couples.  You can read the story from Detroit here.

No doubt some people will say that this is the first of many to follow this path. You can count on other changes being made by mainline denominations. The press will declare that we Christians are finally waking up.  Mark my words, the above comments will come even stronger than I have written.  And I say "ok, no problem!"

Some of you may ask me how in the world I could say that?

It is simple!

Votes by man nor words by people and the press mean anything. Only the Word of God matters! And the Bible is crystal clear that marriage is between one man and one women! Human nature affirms this reality regardless of what people may say.

God has no need of we humans to get enlightened on culture and grow in our interpretation of His Word. The Bible is the same yesterday, today, and forever! It does not and will not change!

I do not hate homosexuals. I do not want them to be miserable in life! I am not homophobic. I simply believe the Bible. I do not place homosexuals as second class citizens. I just read and know that God said in Matt 19:5-6

"4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'
5    "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
6    "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

And then speaking of the natural, the Bible tells us clearly:

Rom 1:20-32
20    For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
21    because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22    Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23    and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man-- and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24    Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
25    who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26    For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
27    Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28    And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
29    being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30    backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31    undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
32    who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
I dare not mess with what God has clearly spoken! And regardless of trends or votes by large groups of people, I and I alone answer to God for following His Word or not. Jesus will not say to God that "poor ol Tim had to deny the Bible because a group of people voted to change what it says - thus let him off for his disobedience."

Every Pastor and every church better settle this now. Either you will follow God or you will be in direct disobedience to Him.

No one knows what the consequences will be for standing with the Word of God in the area of marriage. Frankly, I do not care!

This I know - I will stand with God and His Word and no one will be able to force me to do otherwise. And if I go to jail for it? I will be in great company with the Apostle Paul and others.

Votes by people mean nothing in changing or altering the Word of God!

And it is here that I will loving and courageously stand!  

How about you?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Have we lost our minds?

The title of this post is not hyperbole. After thinking for more than a few days on what the best title should be, it remained the only one that fit! So what am I speaking of? The crazy messed up education system in our country. It is far worse than any of us may be willing to admit. Here are two examples of people and their educational paths that led me to the title.

Case #1
A graduate of a medical school recently shared the following: "After paying for my undergrad and now my MD, I begin my career with $340,000 in student loan debt." In case you missed that, reread! I have never owned a house worth that much! I cannot imagine being in debt on one thing nor several things that amounted to $340,000.

This person is actually working in a hospital today. The learning received was great and the skill being applied to help those in need was the best. Problem, the Government is cutting the amounts that insurance will pay for services. No longer is there a thought that this MD will ever earn more than $350,000 per year. Today, this MD is earning around $180,000. Nice salary indeed. But not so nice when one considers just the loan repayment for the education that provided the knowledge to earn the wage. And while you are sitting there thinking, dwell some on the fact that amount will NOT be forgiven. This amount is on this MD's credit report. No home loan. No car loan. Either pay rent or live with parents! That's it. Drive a used car. Pray you marry someone who will earn far more than you and is willing to pay down that HUGE loan. And money to raise children?

Case #2
A teacher I spoke with recently shared frustration over having to live at home with parents. As the discussion continued, revealed was the simple fact that in order to graduate in 4 years with a degree that allowed employment in a school system, this person had run up a school loan debt of $93,000. Starting salary at the school where job was offered payed started out under $38,000. It does not take long to do the math and discover that this income to student loan debt ratio is similar to the MD. And teacher pay raises are few and far between. I discount the arguments that snarly people people make about teachers only working 9 months. Putting up with undisciplined brats that parents have failed to raise, add demanding parents who do not want you to discipline their children, and you see clearly that the pay is no where near enough - for any amount of months worked.

But a teacher who works hard, cares for your children, and seeks to give your child the basics of education to be productive in society will struggle to buy a home, pay for a car, and have the money also to raise their own children. Why? $93,000 in student loan debt will eliminate most options of obtaining credit until this amount is greatly reduced.

Results Summary
Our educational system is broken from a financial stand point to a devastating level. It is totally impossible to maintain the American economy on this type of debt, learning, and pay scale. A teacher is equally strapped just as is a MD. I keep referring back to the television show The Walton's. Three generations living under one roof seemed so old school. It was a way of life for a farmer or lumber mill owner. But for a Medical Doctor and Educator, the education was sold as a way to break out and achieve more.

Today, the educational system is being sold identically. Get your under grad and don't stop. Continue on for a Masters. And then dig deep and press through to that doctorate. But if one has to do so while piling up loans the size mentioned above, one wonders how that educational system has missed the reality of simple cost and benefit? Do educators no longer think about cost recovery? Our Government has facilitated this problem with the out of control student loan programs. The whole thing is about to change the core of our society and economy. I did not even mention the PhD student who knows that the starting salary for teaching college courses will be limited to the $50,000 range.

So I was reading an article the other day concerning highest paid jobs that are struggling to find applicants. I discovered that the trade of welding is being lost in America. One can start out making $135,000 with no college degree required. The cost to learn welding does not require student loans. And a welder will begin their career in the black able to buy a home, a car, raise their children, and even take a vacation. And this was just one of the many manual labor jobs available with high pay. Problem, no one wants to do these jobs. The very industries that are the backbone of America are no longer viewed as worthy of our time. We are told to get a degree and make something of our ourselves. But our system prevents this from an economic standpoint. It not just crippled, it is broken. And what kind of a person goes so far into debt to get educated and yet will spend the rest of their working lives trying to pay it off?

Come to think of it - maybe we have lost our minds!

P.S. I did not write this to discourage anyone from striving to obtain an education. I am currently working on my PhD. But no degree, regardless of level, can be substituted for common sense and sound financial decision making. We as parents and grandparents need to slow down and make sure we are leading our children with the right goals while also laying the proper foundation of expectations. A degree at the cost of high debt is NOT smart. Maybe we need to take longer to earn them. Maybe we need to go another route. We need to guide our children to make wise decisions. We need to understand that a degree does not make you a better person nor does it guarantee you anything. We need to step back and re-think our ideology. Reality is showing us a serious problem with our current thoughts. We need to re-engage our minds if we still have one!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A plea to parents from 35,000 feet!

On a recent flight to take my father to see his twin sister I experienced something that you pray never occurs on a flight.  I had three seats all to myself. I was happy happy happy! But the happiness did not last. For I soon discovered that seated in front of me and behind me where moms with two children each. Problem - the moms lacked basic parenting skills including how and why to discipline. I have flown many times with children all around and had a blast talking and entertaining. But not on this flight. As I sat and listened to one parent scream while other one bribed her two, I inserted my ear buds and cranked my music hoping to find some solitude.  I failed.

It was easy to see from those sitting close by that I was not the only one shaking my head and looking for ear plugs. Not a single person was upset at the children involved. What became clear to all of us was that too many parents today lack the knowledge and skills in raising their children with discipline, and knowing how to discipline when it is needed - even in public.

Here are the thoughts that I began to realize are missing in these types of situations. Maybe you need this. Maybe you can share this with someone else. And please don't miss the last section!

Parents and their Emotions
When parents allow their children to push their buttons and trigger the release of their emotions, the children win! One mom was screaming at everything! She was behind me.  Her daughter and son were not causing any problems for anyone else but mom. Their ears were popping. Yes this hurts! And children will cry. Parents please stop screaming! It only proves YOU are out of control. Control your emotions in the manner that you desire your children to control theirs. If you respond to them with emotions, you will get emotions back! Someone gave me a coffee cup last year (a real big one) that says "Keep Calm and Carry On!". Parents this will work wonders! Keep your emotions in check.

Know the goal of Discipline
Discipline is not for control! Too many think this. Discipline has as its goal the teaching of boundaries so that our children can learn to self discipline. Think about this one. The boundaries are established via teaching to show where danger exists. The boundaries are reinforced by firm commitment to them so that protection is provided. Our children then learn that there are limits and thus they learn to stay within those limits - the safe place. If you discipline for control, your children will lack the boundaries needed and thus will go beyond your protection. They will lack self discipline which leads to problems as teenagers and adults.

Don't forget the Bible
Notice these verses: 

Prov 22:15
15    Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.

Prov 13:24
24    He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

Prov 23:13-14
13    Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
14    You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.

I know there is a huge rejection in parents spanking their children today. Parents need to realize that past experience of abuse or heard stories of abuse do not negate the clear teaching of the Bible. The Bible is truth. If you chose to not follow it, you will reap from that sin. Problem in parenting is that your children will reap what you have sown. You cannot remove correction via spanking and expect your children to learn discipline. The Bible tells us this will not work!

We cannot discipline in anger. To spank in anger produces the environment for abuse! Remember the section on emotions. But we must discipline! To not do so is to NOT love our children. The Bible teaches this and it is true. Just as God disciplines us, we must also discipline our children. Our discipline must be firm, precise, and fitting. Spanking must be included. It reinforces the boundaries that are needed for our children. To not do so is real child abuse!

Bribery is evil

The mom in front of me bribed her children with everything she could think of. Nothing worked. One bribe led to another. The children had her figured out. They knew mom was willing to give them anything. This is NOT discipline. In fact it teaches children that if you keep begging eventually you will get what you want. In life, this lesson leads to a scary reality.

The message of embarrassment
Both moms said multiple times to their children that they were embarrassing them. The more I heard this the more I wanted to lean forward and back and say: "What you really mean is that you are embarrassed that others are seeing your lack of parenting skills." A lady seated across from me actually voiced this to her daughter during one of the outbursts by the moms. This lady was right. If we parents are embarrassed, it is not our children causing this. It is that we are seeing clearly that we need help in parenting. When embarrasment arrives, listen to it knowing that you are now being given the moment to make changes to your actions or lack thereof.

That last section I mentioned above
 Heidi and I have raised two boys. One a junior in college and one a senior in High School. Our boys grew up traveling with youth groups all over the country. And then they continued growing while living in the glass house of a Pastor. We did not get it right all the time. If I could, there are things that I would change. Yet as I look back, I am thankful for parents who reinforced what I have written above. I am thankful for faithful Pastors and church members who shared key insights into parenting when our boys were little. We did not live close to grandparents. We were on our own. I am so thankful that we listened and followed the best we could to the advice given. Our boys did not slow our ministry down nor did they ever disrupt our trips. We took them everywhere and we have had more fun as a family in ministry than I could have ever imagined. They lived and grew and thankfully, though not perfect, they are now Godly hard working young men who know discipline and right from wrong. The above worked!

Hard work was required. Consistency was much needed. We reminded them constantly that they were not pastors kids but were our children who God had created with a plan for their life. When they failed, we disciplined, yes we spanked, and we grounded. There was no bribing. There was no time out in the corner. Discipline was firm and it was never withheld. We did not allow them to get destructive or obnoxious. Instead we gave them the boundaries so they learned and knew what it meant to be disciplined. Any parent can do the same. You will never get it 100% right every time. You will make mistakes. We made many. But you can teach and you can discipline. The real question is very simple:  Are you willing to do it? It takes effort. It requires knowing the end goal. It requires commitment to that goal. It requires us as parents being disciplined ourselves.

The two moms on the flight are in for some rocky times. More troubling to me is the fact that there are four children that will experience those rocky times thanks to their parents.

How sad is that?