Life on the Road

Life on the Road

I am guessing that most parents who are following Jesus and helping their kids to live with him struggle in the same way I do. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about who and what is most influentially forming my three kids. When I say “forming,” I mean forming them spiritually in a way that affects their identity, their passions, their understanding of living and being in this world, their view of God and what He means in their life. With our youngest child being close to 9 years old and our oldest at 15, immersed in high school life, they are at ages where home, parents, and church are a big influence, but peers, media, and pretty much all of life outside our front door also play a big role in who they are becoming. Many times I have, in my...

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Couldn’t God Simply Forgive?

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Couldn’t God Simply Forgive?

We have just observed Holy Week. Our spirits have been solemn, turned inward and upward more intently than at any other time of the year. We have remembered Jesus’ last days on earth and and his suffering on the cross. Yesterday, we rejoiced in Christ’s resurrection and victory over death and sin. Today we carry the glow of Easter and the promise of new life. In this time of Easter celebration, let’s continue to reflect on what has happened through the events of Jesus’ final days on earth. Why did the cross have to happen. Really, why did Jesus have to die when God is all-powerful and all-loving? Why couldn’t God simply forgive our sin and wipe the slate clean? Many of us have been taught that Jesus had to die to pay the price for our...

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A Life That’s Cruciform

A Life That’s Cruciform

It’s those bedtime questions that can require the very most we have to give. I remember hearing Chuck Swindoll say one time that for parents, it’s those moments we’re tucking them in when kids are the most talkative. Don’t rush through bedtime with your kids, he encouraged. They’ll do anything to delay switching off the light. Talk to them. Listen to them. Take advantage of their open hearts and listening ears no matter how tired you are and no matter how ready you are to be done with parenting for the day. Austin, my 11-year-old, asked this one as I was giving him a final kiss at the end of a trying day, to put it mildly. Our 8-year-old had been through two meltdowns, our high schooler had been home sick from school and then had...

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Just a Minute

Just a Minute

In honor of spring break I want to tell the story of a child and of the man he became. This man today loves children like Jesus does and helps other people do the same. He didn’t have a good childhood. He was beaten nineteen times each week for nine months out of each year. He was the son of missionaries in the days when children were sent off to boarding school to keep them from interfering with the mission work. A head master and teachers who didn’t want to teach and were not called to caring for children used physical abuse to keep  some 50 children under control and said that if the kids told their parents they’d become Satan’s tool and would harm the mission work being done. The children lived in misery, fear, and silence. Finally one...

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What’s a Hypocrite?

What’s a Hypocrite?

I don’t think we’ve had this particular discussion before with the boys. It was verses from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) and questions in Good Dirt (http://gooddirtfamilies NULL.com/good-dirt-devotional/) that got their wheels turning and, before we’d even finished the Scripture reading our 8-year-old was interrupting with, “What’s a hypocrite? … What’s a hypocrite?” They couldn’t really identify with Jesus’ examples of blowing trumpets when giving money in church, or praying really loud on street corners, or fasting from food with troubled faces. So, the challenge was to bring hypocrisy to a kid’s level. “It’s doing things so that other people will think you’re a really...

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Why Practice Lent with Children?

Why Practice Lent with Children?

Hello friends! For today’s post, I’d like to direct you to another post that is important and helpful, both to those of us with children in our lives and, really, to each of us as we anticipate the beginning of Lent on March 5. Do you practice Lent? Do you know what Lent is and why followers of Jesus observe this period before Easter? Have you ever thought about helping your kids understand and practice Lent? This short post is SO helpful in explaining Lent and bringing it to a child’s level. Read this, read this … (when you click on the following link you will be directed to the post) Why Practice Lent with Children? (http://gooddirtfamilies NULL.com/2014/02/15/why-practice-lent-with-children/) And, if you’d like you can download the...

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