“But I still have my sins.”

One of my goals in being a father is to instill confidence in my children. I heard a successful man once say “My parents built so much confidence in me that I thought I could do anything.”

Isn’t it such a blessing to think of parents doing everything they can to put their children in position to be as successful as possible? Isn’t it kind of a given that parents want what is best for their children?

Well in many ways I am still learning and growing on how to do this most effectively, but one thing I am focused on is complimenting them and praising them. I want my children to know that I am watching. I want my children to feel that I care about what they are doing. I want my children to experience me celebrating their accomplishments with them. So in big things and small things, I let them know when I am proud of them.

When JJ catches the ball with his hands. When Eli writes his name well. When Noah stays in bed without getting up. Or when JJ rides his bike well. Or when Eli learns to jump off something. Or when Noah climbs up the slide. All of these things are to be celebrated. And our children gain confidence and courage when they know we are proud of them. Some of the biggest smiles and “cheeses” I have ever seen as a parent, have been when I have jumped up cheering because I am so proud of their growth and success.

Well, a while back, Eli and I were walking together. And I was telling him how proud I was of him. I had a list of things. He is doing great. His running and throwing and climbing and jumping are all improving. (Eli is only 3 yet he is as big as his 5 year old brother. So he often feels bad about not being as agile as JJ. ) Not only those things, but I was also praising Eli for how obedient he had been lately. He is indeed growing up and minding me and Valeria better. And we have recognized that. So as we were walking, I took the time and was intentional about telling him how proud I am of him. He turned and looked up at me and smiled that awesome-Eli-grin like only Eli can do. As if to say, it means the whole world to me to know you are proud of me. We kept walking.

Then about 20 seconds later, Eli said something that stopped me. He said, “yeah Daddy, but I still have my sins.”

My whole mind raced as I bounced through many thoughts, both good and bad: Bible Answer: “yes you do son, we all sin.” Prideful -Ignorant-Parent Answer: “No, you don’t son. You’re an angel.” Pointless-Unhealthy Answer: “Don’t say that son! Its alright. Don’t worry about  it.” Reality-Check-I-want-to-be-a-good-godly-parent-answer: “uhh, well.”

Then as I gathered myself and was ready to handle this memorable-parenting-moment, I realized that Eli is right on target. I was reminded of 1 John 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” And John 8:7 “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” And Psalm 130:3 “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” There is that balance to life. Eli is doing a lot of things well. But he also has some things he needs to improve on. And regardless of how good you get at many things, you best not neglect your sins.

So here is how I responded to Eli: “You’re right Eli. You do still have your sins. But remember, we will never be finished sinning. And that is why we need Jesus. Remember, why did He die?”

 Eli replied: “He died for my sins.”

I continued: “Thats right! We do still have our sins. But we trust in Jesus. He died for our sins. And He forgives us of our sins when we believe in Him. But remember, I am still proud of you. You are doing well in many areas.”

Eli smiled again and shook his head in agreement.

And while I am working hard to encourage, build up, and instill confidence in my children. They are doing well at teaching me the basic truths of life. “But I still have my sins.”

 

“where the good way is”

“Life is so hard” is a phrase that I have heard a lot lately.

And I agree. It is. 

It is so hard to be a teenager in the world today with all the peer pressures. More than ever before, there are so many unhappy teenagers.

It is so hard to be a college student in the world today with all of the major decisions to make about what your future will look like. It is overwhelming.

It is so hard to be a young adult in the world today with the high cost of living. Generally speaking, two working adults with a car payments and a house payment will really struggle to make ends meet. Financial issues may be the worst troubles of all.

It is so hard to be a parent in the world today with all the busy-ness we live with. And with all the fears and distractions.

For many people, it often seems like there is “no looking up.” Like there is no hope. Like we cannot actually succeed, do well, make a difference, or be effective. And if there really is some reason to be optimistic, then what is it?

Hear these old words from God as He was speaking to his wayward, struggling people in the book of Jeremiah:

“Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.'” -Jeremiah 6:16

There is a way to live life right. There is a path that leads us in the right direction. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a reason to be hopeful. There is optimism. There are better days ahead. There is joy in the future. There is rest for our souls.

Let us take time to LOOK and see where our lives are not right. And lets see God’s ways and walk in it.

God’s way is where the good way is!

The very last part of that verse above was intentionally left out. It says “But they said, ‘we will not walk in it.'” (Jer. 6:16)

Oh the arrogance and ignorance to look and see the right thing to do, and yet still not do it.

“Farther along” lyrics

Recently I was introduced to a new song that has really blessed me.

Josh Garrels is the musician. He is new to me. You may want to check out his stuff. He gives away his music all the time. Check out his website to download some of his albums for free.

I have not listened to much other than this one song, but it has really stuck to me.

It is a re-make of the old hymn Farther Along. He uses the same chorus but has written his own lyrics.

You can listen to the whole song here.

Here is an excerpt from the song:

“Still I get hard pressed on every side
Between the rock and a compromise
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin’ for my soul
And I’ve got no place left go
Cause I got changed by what I’ve been shown
More glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin’ on

Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall
I’m free to love once and for all
And even when I fall I’ll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levee and my bluff
Let the flood wash me

And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the son of god is forever blessed
His is the kingdom, we’re the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing Lord, come soon”

4 Things I Love about Working with F.C.A.

4 Things I love about working with FCA

Nearly 10 years ago a close friend introduced me to the fine people who work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the Kentuckiana area. When we met then, I did not know how much God would bless me through their ministry and their devotion and commitment to Christ. Here are 4 things that I love about working with FCA:

  1. Needed Relationships. I want to be a person who is making a positive difference in the lives of young people. Our schools today are full of students who are in need of friends and mentors. Our city is full of churches of people who want to do that. But there is a disconnect. It is not all that easy to make these relationships happen. We want to, but it is a challenge. FCA creates a situation to make these relationships happen. Last fall, I was able to spend hours with a group of soccer players who do not know Jesus. I bought them meals. Gave them rides. And we talked a lot about many things – high school soccer, food in other countries, and also Jesus’ death on the cross. There are so many players & coaches around the city that I now consider dear friends. Were it not for FCA, those relationships would have never happened. “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9:22-23)
  2. Challenge Accepted. Coaches, teachers, counselors, administrators everywhere are continually challenging their students to step it up and be leaders. So many young people today have a desire or passion to lead, but they are held back by some fear or nervousness. FCA is specifically intentional about cultivating good leadership in Christian student-athletes. This point is very convicting and encouraging. I have seen numerous students go from being quiet and tentative to out-spoken and confident. Not only in what they believe but also in their work ethic on the field or court. Look around the broad sports landscape today and you will see that many of the well-known leaders are believers in Jesus. They have accepted the challenge. I am thankful for FCA focusing on this aspect of life, competition and faith.
  3. Do all things with excellence. FCA wants everything to be done well. And that is fitting. God has told us “Whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31) and “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (1 Cor. 9:24) Winning is not everything, but it is certainly a goal and priority. You play to win the game. I am thankful that FCA does not shy away from this message. There are too many people today who seem to think that your athletic performance does not matter as long as you’re “focused on God.” However, God would say otherwise. When one is playing sports, they ought to do it all for God’s glory and to the best of their God-given ability.
  4. Changed Lives. I love working with FCA because God is saving people through their work. I know of so many student athletes who have been literally changed by God because of the work being done by FCA. There are UofL athletes who have come to me hungry to know God and His word. There are middle schoolers who are finding their purpose and identity through FCA. And there are high schoolers passionate to give themselves to the work of God. It is incredible to see a student-athlete who is wandering through life lacking motivation who finds Christ. Once they come to know Jesus, their approach to all things changes. This is happening all around us. The basketball player at University of Louisville; the cyclist at P.R.P. High School; the track star at Fairdale High; or the soccer player at Manual High; just to name a few. And what is so great is that so many of us can list off many, many more students who are finding the meaning of life through FCA. I am thrilled to be involved in this great work. “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11) “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:57)

What we believe about the Bible

For the past 3 Sunday evenings, we have been blessed and encouraged to have one of our church members teach us about the Bible.

Josh Wamble has been a part of First Baptist Fairdale for 8 years. He is a gifted teacher in our church. 

The title of his 3-part series was “What we believe about the Bible.”

You can listen to each of them here.

Part 1 – The Authority of the Bible

Part 2 – The Clarity, Necessity, and Sufficiency of the Bible

Part 3 – How we got the Bible we have

 

The Bible truly is God’s Word! May you be blessed and strengthened in your faith as you listen to these 3 messages.

Lullaby for my daughter

When our first son, Joshua Jr., was born on January 2, 2008, I wrote him a lullaby. I was overcome with God’s goodness to me. I couldn’t then and I cannot now believe that I am father and daddy. I most certainly do not deserve all the blessing in my life. God is good to me. I have memorized that lullaby, and I sing it now to all of our children. I had thought that I would be able to write each of them a lullaby, but I have just adapted this one to fit each of them. It is pretty much the same lullaby, but I did have to change more this time since she is a girl. Either way, it expresses my heart in life and in fatherhood.

You can read the lullaby here. 

3 Really Good Life Lessons from a Godly Mom

I will never forget that day in my front yard as a little boy when a friend from the neighborhood made me mad, and I called him something that I should not have called him. My mother heard me say it. She grabbed me by the arm; took me inside, into her bathroom in her bedroom; reached under the sink; pulled out a fresh bar of Dial soap; and crammed it into my mouth until I got the point.

She did not want me to talk like that ever again! I am thankful for a mom like that. It is because of her teaching me in moments like that one (I have never forgotten that!) that I have always tried to speak well and not have a foul mouth.

Well in the Bible in Proverbs 31 we have an awesome passage where another Godly mother is talking to her son. Many people are familiar with verses 10-31 about the “Godly woman.” But far less people are familiar with the first 9 verses of chapter 31 of Proverbs. King Lemuel says these 9 verses are an oracle that his mother taught him. It is so profound!

Verse 2 expresses how concerned she is for her son. She knows his potential. She knows that God has a calling and purpose on his life. She is burdened that her son not waste his life and throw his life away. And so she gives him, her son, this great advice.

Her advice is so fitting for today, Here it is:

  1. Don’t let women distract you!
  2. Stay away from Alcohol!
  3. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves!

 

31:3 speaks to the danger that women can be. Bad relationships can destroy people. Don’t let women distract you. (Obviously,   men can distract women too. I am not meaning this to be one way. Relationships can be distracting.)

31:4-7 speaks about alcohol and what it can be good for. But it also speaks about how it distorts one’s focus and concentration. And if one plans to be a leader and difference maker, they need to stay away from Alcohol. Lemuel’s mother says alcohol may be cool for some people, but for those with a vision and a calling and a purpose Alcohol is not for them. Alcohol misleads people, and so – stay away from it.

Then 31:8-9 speak about the poor and the needy and those who cannot speak up for themselves. This godly mother in the Bible tells her son to make it his responsibility to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. In other words, she is telling her son to make a difference in people’s lives. Success or significance is greater when you are not content on making your life better, but on making the lives of others better.

Notice that she is not telling her son to be the best or smartest or fastest or best looking. Certainly she may desire those things. But in the end, success is not determined by those things. This godly mother knew that. In the end, the way we impacted people is what counts. The lives that have been touched is what really matters!

May we all hear these 3 wise words from this Godly mother!

5 Things I Learned While Sick

This past week I became very sick with a stomach virus that I had heard had been going around. This terrible “bug” left me depleted and in bed for several days. Cold, shaky, and weak, I did not leave my bed for nearly 48 hours. (Thanks to Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o, I was not bored out of my mind.)

I pulled out my hospital socks to help me keep warm in recovery.

But as I laid there all that time, I was able to reflect on my life. (Now I certainly understand that a 48 hour stomach virus is not a very big deal. This is not at all to put me in a category as someone who is very sick or in the hospital.) There is so much that goes through your mind when you are sick. Every time I get sick, I go through this phase of wondering if I will ever get better. What if I don’t? Anyways, I always do. And here are some of my observations that I would like to share: 

  1. Health is important. I cannot do all the responsibilities God has given me if I am not healthy. Therefore, I must prioritize my health. Some exercise is important! Like Paul says, “Bodily training is of some value.”

  2. My wife is a blessing. Proverbs says “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing.” I have never known that to be more true than this week. As I lay in bed sleeping and moaning, she took care of everything including me. She is 38 weeks pregnant. Due any day. We have 3 little boys running around the house. And she still managed to keep me supplied with toast, chicken noodle soup, and gatorade in bed. She’s amazing!

  3. Focus on where you are. Jim Elliott once said, “Where ever you are, Be all there.” As I was down and out, my sons must have come in to check on me a hundred times. They wanted me to play with them, read to them, wrestle with them, but I was unable to. I found myself thinking. As soon as I feel better, I am going to focus on my sons.

  4.  Laziness is awful. As I began to feel somewhat better, my mind began to go over all the things that I could be doing. Things that I would have rather been doing. I began to get mad. Really frustrated. I didn’t want to watch another episode of Family Feud or SportsCenter. I wanted to get up and do something. As the Bible says “Go to the ant, you sluggard, and consider his ways.”

  5. I have a good God, good friends and a good church family.  I do not deserve the love that I am shown on a daily basis. The people that God has placed around me are so good to me. I thank God for them. The calls and texts were thoughtful. The help was so on time. I even had two different dear friends conduct funeral services for me in my absence. What a blessing! I am not 100% yet, but I sure do feel better. I thank God that He has healed me.