Andrew Peterson’s song “Family Man”

The older I get and the more committed to parenting that I have become, the more this song means to me. I am not sure if you know this song, but I thank God so much for all that He is teaching me about Himself, myself and family.

Different Season. Same Reason.

Like many people, my family spent a lot of time this past December reading through the Christmas story in the Bible. And while I enjoy all angles of the story, this year I was gripped most by the Wise Men. Their intention was so crystal clear. Matthew 2:2 states “we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” And then Matthew 2:11 states “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.”

The Wise Men came from the East for one reason – to worship Jesus.

In the week after Christmas as the new year rolled around, I was reading the Great Commission in Matthew 28 (always seems fitting to re-read it at the beginning of each new year), and I noticed something fascinating. Matthew 28:16-17 states “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him…”

The disciples followed Jesus for one reason – to worship him.

Both passages say the same thing – they worshiped him.

Matthew’s gospel begins with the birth of Jesus and people worshipping him.

Matthew’s gospel ends with the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus and people worshipping him.

The Wise Men didn’t know him personally yet but they knew he was King. They came to worship the new born King.

The disciples did know him personally, and they worshiped him.

The Wise Men were seeing him for the very first time, and they worshiped him.

The disciples had been with him daily for the past three years, and they worshiped him.

Matthew wants us to understand our purpose – to worship Jesus!

It may be a different season, but people still have the same reason.

As we get busy looking to make 2017 have more purpose than ever, lets focus on worshipping Jesus!


God & Laziness: 4 ways that we are lazy

I continue to be impressed and inspired by God’s Word. While many make the excuse that it is boring or hard to understand, I find it engaging and very applicable to life.

Just last week, while reading Proverbs 26 on October the 26th, I noticed this again. God talks about laziness. Being lazy is a necessary topic for so many people. God knows how to connect with us. God knows how to deal with us. Not only does God address lazy people, but he gives the lazy person a name. God calls the lazy person the sluggard!

Here are characteristics of the sluggard – 4 ways that we are lazy:

  1. The lazy person makes excuses. (26:13) The sluggard should be out doing something but instead he says there is “a lion in the streets.” That is an excuse. There is no lion in the streets. That is a lazy excuse for why he is not doing what he should be doing.
  2. The lazy person wastes time. (26:14) The sluggard should be up and at it. The sluggard should be out of bed but instead he is just lying in bed turning over like a door on a hinge. That is lazy and a waste of time. There are things to do.
  3. The lazy person is not fit for good works. (26:15) The sluggard tries to do something but is unable.  He puts his hand in the dish to bring the snack back to his mouth but is unable to. He is too lazy to do the deed. Many of us wish to do better. We want to exercise more, give more, eat less, sleep less and so forth. But we are not fit for it. We want to do it, but we have not put ourselves in position to do the thing we want to do. That is being lazy.
  4. The lazy person thinks he knows best. (26:16) The sluggard thinks he knows better than everyone else.  Even though many people with more knowledge, more experience, and more effort are telling him what he needs to do, the sluggard will not listen. He thinks he knows best. You cannot tell the sluggard anything that he doesn’t already know.

The Word of God is awesome. And it is profitable for us. In Proverbs 26 it addresses laziness. May we not be lazy. Lets live for God’s glory!

3 Questions to Ask Before Your Funeral

Once we get to our funerals, there are several things that are too late. Several things that are lost.
We cannot go back and make any changes.
Life is short. Life is precious. Life is heavy. And we must be ready.casket

Being ready means that we take time to consider the brevity, beauty and weight of life long before it is gone.

There are several things that need to be considered before we die.

Here are 3 questions to ask before your funeral (hopefully, way before your funeral):

    -Will there be any young people at your funeral because you had invested in them?
    -Will there be any older people at your funeral because you were so respectful to them?
    -Will any of your co-workers attend your funeral?
    -Will any of your neighbors come to your funeral?
    -Will there be any diversity at your funeral?  Anybody from a different race? Any international people?
    -Who will be at your funeral?
    -Will people speak about your interests or your interest in them?
    -Will people reminisce about the time they spent in your home?
    -Will people speak about how kind and loving you were?
    -Will people tell stories about that time you went out of your way to help them?
    -Will people recall how you sacrificed your time and energy for their sake?
    -Will people speak about the way your life impacted theirs?
    -Will anyone speak about how your faith in Christ impacted them?
    -Will anyone speak about how you faithfully prayed for them?
    -Will anyone tell about how they came to know God through their relationship with you?
    -Will people wonder whether you knew God or not?
    -Will people question if you were religious?
    -Will people be comforted knowing that you are in heaven?
    -Will people fear that you are in hell?
    -Will people be curious about whether you were a Christian or not?


Don’t be scared!

I remember being a teenager when I began to see people wearing t-shirts that said Ain’t Skeered.’ Then shortly after that I remember seeing guys put that same phrase on their vehicles’ rear windows. I always thought that was a little odd.

aint skeered

In my mind, boldly asserting not being scared is not necessary if you aren’t scared. Unless you are a little scared, then why feel the need to say it? But we will leave that conversation for another time.

Confidence in the face of fear is a better subject. It is needed. Honestly, we need to be able to find courage & strength in times we could and even should be afraid.

God speaks to this time and time again. The phrase “do not be afraid” is found nearly 40 times in the Bible. And numerous similar phrases are found throughout the whole Bible.

Think of God speaking to Israel/Jacob in Genesis 46 about their family going down into Egypt with Joseph: “Do not be afraid.”
Think of God commissioning Joshua in Joshua 1 to be the next leader of the people of Israel after Moses’ death: “Do not be frightened.”
Think of Jesus calling His first disciples in Luke 5 when he says to them: “Do not be afraid: from now on you will be catching men.”
Think of Jesus immediately after His resurrection in Matthew 28 when he says to Mary: “Do not be afraid; go and tell.”
Think of Paul in Acts 18 when God encourages him to continue speaking the truth: “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent.”

One of the resounding commands from God to His people throughout God’s word, and indeed throughout history, is Do Not Be Afraid! 

But life is hard and uncertain and heavy and troubling, and there are times when people are afraid. So where does the confidence to not be afraid come from when we are inclined to be afraid? Or what can we do when we are honestly afraid?

It comes from God. His presence. His being with us. God never tells us to not be afraid without also telling us why we shouldn’t be afraid. God never tells us to not be afraid without giving us a strong reason why we shouldn’t be afraid. And God will not tell us to not be afraid if we really and truly should be afraid. God can be trusted.

Listen to His words to Joshua in Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

When you know Jesus and His being with you, then your fears are handled much differently!

Be strong and courageous! Don’t be scared!

Ryle on misunderstood zeal

“Few things show the corruption of human nature more clearly, than man’s inability to understand zeal in religion. Zeal about money, or science, or war, or commerce, or business, is intelligible to the world. But zeal about religion is too often reckoned foolishness, fanaticism, and the sign of a weak mind. If a man injures his health by study, or excessive attention to business, no fault is found: — “He is a diligent man.” — But if he wears himself out with preaching, or spends his whole time in doing good to souls, the cry is raised, “He is an enthusiast and righteous over-much.”” — J.C. Ryle

Not Happily

I continue to be amazed at how bad we are at determining what will make us happy.

It seems that people are moving through life looking for happiness, making choices that they think will make them happy, only to find them further and further away from being happy. It is really quite sad and disheartening! In search of happiness, we are not very happy.


Just the other evening, I was reminded of this yet again while reading with my sons. We are currently re-reading The Dangerous Journey (The kids version of Pilgrims Progress). One of the early encounters on Christian’s journey is Mr. Worldly Wiseman. At the time of their meeting each other, Christian is still with his burden and has already spoken with Evangelist having been pointed toward Jesus. So at his encounter with Mr. Worldy Wiseman, Christian is on his way to the Gate.

As his name would suggest, Mr. Worldly Wiseman tries to convince Christian that Evangelist is wrong and is simply trying to lead Christian down a road of worthless religion. In his appeal to Christian, Mr. Worldly Wiseman says:

“Hear me – I am older than you – and I’ll give you some advice. In yonder village there dwells a gentleman whose name is Legality; a very judicious man – a man of very good name. He has skill to help men off with their burdens. He has, to my knowledge,  cured several who were going out of their wits because of them. His house is not a mile from this place, and if he’s not home himself, his son – who’s called Civility – will help you. Moreover, if you wish, there are houses standing empty in the village at reasonable rates. The food is cheap and good, and you can send for your wife and family, and all live happily together.

We were reading through this section of the story, and when we came to that part JJ spoke out – “Not Happily!”

I stopped reading. My three sons and I then discussed JJ’s comment in light of Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s message.

There are many voices out there telling us where and how to find happiness. May we be sure to know that apart from Jesus there is no true happiness. And therefore, any voice attempting to convince us to “live happily together” without Jesus should be answered with a certain response –“Not Happily!”

Reminder: Don’t forget your attitude makes all the difference

Have you ever forgotten something of importance? Have you ever missed an appointment? Or forgotten to do a much needed task? Have you ever been oblivious to something you have neglected only to find yourself later saying , “I completely forgot about that.”

There are some things in life that we continually need to be reminded about! No matter how well we may know an idea or truth, we still do occasionally forget. We need reminders.

I was reminded of this need recently while teaching the mid-week Men’s & Women’s Bible studies at our church.

In Titus 3:1-2 Paul writes:

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

Paul tells Titus to be sure to remind the church of these things. Really? These are not big doctrinal issues. These are not truths which we cannot afford to compromise. No, they are not. But they are characteristics of a true godly attitude. And if there is anything that needs a reminder,  it is our attitudes.

Many church people have known and affirmed what the Bible teaches for years – since they were children. And they need no reminder of ‘who Jesus is?’ or of ‘what the Bible is?’ or of  ‘how we can be forgiven of our sins?’ But what we all need to be reminded of is our attitudes! Honestly, some times my attitude is really bad. Sometimes my attitude stinks! This is not good nor right. Often we focus so heavily on good works being our witness to the world. We regularly remind ourselves that we are the salt and light of the world.  Yet we fail to remember that our attitude is our witness too! A grumpy church person is a bad witness. A judgmental  Christian is a bad witness. A rude follower of Christ is a bad witness. Our attitude means a lot!

Paul, the great theologian, apostle, missionary is right! We need to be reminded of these things!

With all our zeal to represent Christ, may not forget that our attitudes represent Jesus too!

4 Thoughts on Parenting

Being a dad is my favorite thing in the world! I have been trying to state clearly how much I love being the father to my children, and I truly cannot find the words to express how much I love having my kids in my life.

Greene Christmas 2015

With that said, parenting is so hard.

Loving them a whole lot is one thing. Leading them and training them is another. And it is not easy.

I am still very happy to be a parent. I don’t have all the answers. Honestly, I don’t have very many answers. I make so many mistakes as a dad. And I know my kids, as well as our family, have their/our issues.

However, I still love them so much. And I desire to be the best parent I can be.

Here are 4 thoughts on parenting:

We’re Together in This

Valeria and I are united in parenting. We are not the same person. We each come from different families, homes and upbringings. But we are committed to being focused together in parenting. We both love our kids. We both have the same desires for our kids. And we both have each other’s back in regards to leading our kids. We support each other in parenting. And we never want our kids to see us not united. We are a team. We are together in this parenting! If the parents are not united in the way they lead their kids, then there is no way to know which direction the kids are going.

Its a Top Priority

Life is quite demanding, and it is very easy to find ourselves giving too much time, energy and life to things that are not a top priority. Valeria and I are committed to making parenting a top priority to us. It is not just a part of our life. It is our life. It is not a part of what we do. It is what we do. We do not want anything to get in the way of us spending lots of quality time as a family. There is not a decision we make where we do not consider how this affects our family. “What will happen to my relationship with my kids?” is a question that I ask myself often as I plan my days and weeks.
Also, when something is a top priority then that should mean that you also examine it. Valeria and I are often looking back to evaluate how focused and committed we are to our family, our children and our home. If the parents don’t value parenting as a top priority, then the kids will not value their parents instruction.

Discipline is just a part of the Relationship

We discipline our kids. Consistent discipline works well. But disciplining our children is never the main part of our relationship. Our relationships in our home are very involved. We spend lots of time together. We eat dinner together. All 7 of us sit at the dinner table together to have dinner. We talk a lot. We laugh a lot. We pray a lot. We play a lot. We are together a lot. So when it comes time to discipline a child, it is not coming out of nowhere. It is not coming as the only interaction of late. It is not coming as the only communication of late. Discipline is just a part of the relationship.  For every serious corrective talk, there have been countless conversations about so many other things. Deep talks, funny talks, teaching talks, serious talks, silly talks all happen daily. Regularly and often. So when the time comes to discipline, it makes sense. For every case of physical discipline, there have been countless interactions on so many other levels. High-fives, hugs, play-wrestling, throwing ball, taking a walk, reading a book together, and so on and so on. All of these things happen daily. Regularly and often. Discipline is not the main thing in our family. It is just a part of the relationship. If the parents don’t have good strong loving relationships with their kids, then the kids will not understand the discipline or lack thereof.

God’s Word informs our Parenting

God says a lot in His word about parenting, and Valeria and I are committed to following God’s word. In fact, those first 3 thoughts are all found in Scripture. Unquestionably, my strong desire to be a good dad and love my kids comes from God’s Word. His Word informs our parenting. God is our best example. He is the best Father. He is our father in heaven. We look to Him to see what He says about parenting. And we look to Him to see what kind of a parent He is. His love for His children is deep. We want to love our kids in that way. If the parents will not learn from God about how to parent, then the kids will not learn from God.

So to recap: 1) We’re together in this! 2) It is a top priority 3) Discipline is just a part of the relationship and 4) God’s Word informs our Parenting.

For their sake

As usual, the Apostle Paul begins his letter to Titus by introducing himself. In this book, he gives himself two titles/labels: “A slave of God” and “an apostle of Jesus Christ.” Lets not overlook the significance of those two. They are both strong and honorable. However, in many ways they are opposite extremes. “A slave of God” is describing yourself in the lowest of ways. It is admitting that your life is for nothing other than the glory of God. It is a sign of humility because all followers of Jesus are slaves of God. And while Paul is one of the few select apostles, he still firstly introduces himself as God’s slave. “An Apostle of Jesus Christ” is describing yourself in the highest of ways. In the New Testament, there is no title higher than that of an apostle. In the history of the world, there have only ever been 14 true apostles. At the time Paul is writing Titus, He is most likely the last one living. Again, Paul was probably the only Apostle of Jesus left. That is a huge title. So Paul has introduced himself in his letter to Titus in a fascinating way – two very different yet very impressive titles – “Slave of God” and “Apostle of IMG954096Jesus Christ.”

What he says next though in verse one is what has so caught my attention.  He says he is a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect.”
That is why he is what he is! 
Paul is both a servant and an apostle for the believers’ benefit.
Paul is not in this work for himself. He is in this work “for the sake of their faith.”
It is remarkable to hear him speak in such a way. Paul understands that God, in His providence, has placed Paul in those peoples lives and has placed those people under Paul’s ministry. Paul understands that those people are to benefit from his life and his teaching. He does it for their sake!
If Paul is who he is “for their sake,” then this leads us to ask “What would happen to them if Paul was not there?” This is a reasonable question. Undoubtedly, Paul’s conviction was to think this way. Paul saw responsibility to his calling and to his people. Paul believes his life and ministry is “for the sake of the elect.”
As I then apply that to my life, I ask “Who can I say I am living for the sake of their faith?”
Who is benefitting from who I am as a follower of Jesus?
Are my children better off because of my commitment to Jesus?
What would happen to my wife and kids if I was not here? Am i living “for the sake of their faith?”
I also think about this in regards to FCA work. The opportunities of team chaplains and huddle leaders is so significant. Who else is serving those student-athletes? Who else is telling them? Who else cares to that extent? Do we realize the magnitude of our small role? Do we understand that God has us in that position “for the sake of their faith?”
And if so, we ought to do it well.
I am thankful for Paul’s ultra-selfless understanding of ministry. Like a true shepherd, he has their best interest in mind, not his. Who is your life “for the sake of their faith?”