Category Archives: Family

My Memory Bank is Wiped Clean

As I write this, Jim and I are staying in a motel while he is preaching at a Gospel Meeting. It has been a very pleasant stay so far with a spacious room and a great breakfast provided every morning (I could get used to this!).

All of the staff members here have been very nice to deal with, but one lady who helps with breakfast has been very pleasant to talk to. She has told us about her children and grandchildren, about the job she has, and why she has it. She’s a very hard worker and gets extremely tired every day.

The other morning, while discussing how tired she is at the end of the day, she made this statement to us: “At night, my memory bank is wiped clean. Each morning begins a new day.”

I thought that statement over for a while and came to the conclusion that it would really be nice if we could wipe our memory bank clean – at least concerning some things.

Wouldn’t it be nice to forget…

-that hateful comment someone made to you?

-those words of discouragement you heard that day?

-those disparaging remarks about someone you love?

-the bitterness and disappointment in the voice of your sister in Christ?

-the grumbling and complaining you heard about your elders or preacher or both?

-that sarcastic tone in your brother/sister’s voice?

-being left out by those who are supposed to care about you?

But if my memory bank was wiped clean every night, I would lose those great moments that I experience every day.

Things like…

-laughter with a friend.

-a smile on my grandchild’s face.

-that hug my husband gave me this morning.

-witnessing a baptism or restoration.

-seeing that older member coming through the door at church on their walker, or in a     wheelchair, to worship God.

-teaching a class and seeing that light bulb of understanding come on in the eyes of your student.

You see, I really think the last part of what that sweet worker said is most important: “Every day is a new day.”

I can choose to hang on to the negativity of yesterday, or I can focus on the good and thank God for a new day.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in Him.”

(Lamentations 3:22-24)


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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

Cost vs. Value

It was one of those statements that was written in a derogatory way, but it jumped off the page at me. I was reading an autobiography, and the writer was talking about a nemesis who made what he considered to be terrible decisions.

His reasoning was that the man knew all the spreadsheets and financial calculations, but he was never with the people to hear their stories and to understand how all these figures and facts worked themselves out. But the way he worded it is what made it stand out to me.

The statement was this: “He knew the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.”

I just wondered how often that can be true of me.

I am a detail-oriented guy. I live by the clock and the calendar. I’m one of those nerds who actually enjoys making things like organizational charts and who will type up a multi-page proposal to present to the elders about a new program idea, instead of just sitting around and “workshopping” the idea. It’s just the way my mind works.

And I want to know every detail when I do these things. What I can’t figure out will drive me nuts!

Having admitted that, though, I wonder if I ever think about the why in all these charts and figures. Who are these things trying to help? How will this benefit people in their walk with Christ? Will this touch lives, or will it just check something off the list as “done?”

In other words, what is the value of this?

How would this play out? Here are a few areas it might help.

When a congregation is planning an event like Vacation Bible School or a Gospel Meeting, there needs to be someone who can figure costs and areas of service. But before any of that occurs, there needs to be another question answered: Why are we doing this? What is the purpose of our VBS or our Gospel Meeting? How will this touch lives and impact them for eternity?

When a family is thinking about putting their child in another sport or activity, often the only question is “how much will this cost?” But should there not be some other, very important questions asked? Will this impact the amount of time a family can spend together? Is this going to take away–or severely reduce–time spent in family devotionals? Is this adding important value, or is it just something to fill more time?

When elders are working on a congregational budget, do they just look at the bottom line and see that all the money is going “somewhere,” or do they ask how the money is impacting souls? It might mean that a program is discontinued, or that some other difficult conversations have to take place. But the value is what matters; not the cost.

And on and on we could go.

As I said, I am a detail guy, so this is a difficult article to write for someone like me! But, no matter what I am doing, I need to step back from all the details and see more than just the costs (the facts, figures, and charts) and see souls. After all, they are of infinite value, and they are what matter in the end.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Episode 79: 100 Verses Resource, Expenses Parents Don’t Need, Surprising Parenting Statistics, and More! [Podcast]

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On our latest podcast, Adam and Leah spend some time sharing family updates, then discuss a great article about how parents can cut expenses by thinking about what is most important. Finally, they discuss some research from the Kaiser Family group that is a bit surprising (and sad). Find the links below.

Resources

100 Verses to Know from 1st and 2nd Corinthians [pdf from A Legacy of Faith]

8 Kid Expenses that Are Not Worth the Money, According to Real Parents [Healthy Way]

Sex on TV 4 [pdf from Kaiser Family Foundation]

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Why We Like Year-Round Lads to Leaders Events

The national Lads to Leaders convention has just been completed. Countless hours were spent preparing for this big weekend, and our kids had a blast! We came home excited…but also exhausted.

So why am I already writing about preparing for the 2018 convention?

Because we love the year-round events, and today I want to encourage you to be involved in them (even if you are not involved with Lads to Leaders!).

What are Year-Round Events?

When most people think of Lads to Leaders, all they consider is the convention that is held annually on Easter weekend. At that convention, young people are involved in speech, debate, song leading, oral Bible reading, art, Bible bowl, and puppet theater. These events gain a lot of attention, of course, because they happen at the convention itself and so much work has been put into preparing for these.

However, there are many other events that young people work on throughout the year at home. Personally, we like these events a lot. They can be done on your own time, at your own pace, and you can start working on them right now.

Some of them take a long time to complete, while others can be done in just a few hours’ time. Thus, they are “year-round,” because they are not done at the convention, but at home throughout the year.

What Can We Do?

Our family tries to emphasize several of these events with our kids each year. Sometimes we complete them; sometimes we don’t. Either way, they show our kids that Lads to Leaders is more than just “a trip,” and it also is teaching them to be involved in growing in their faith 12 months out of the year; not just in preparation for one weekend event.

Here are some of the events we have tried, with a short explanation of each. [For a complete explanation, you can download the pdf of the Lads to Leaders rulebook here.]

Centurion of Scripture. This is my favorite event for the kids to do. In Centurion, students memorize 100 verses of Scripture. They can even do this one verse at a time! This is perfect for family Bible time, and it is a joy to watch your children meet this challenge.

Good Samaritan. We have done this event off and on, but the students earn “points” for doing acts of service throughout the year.

Junior Leaders. This event for K-5 is one that was new to us this past year, and I was honored to teach our congregation’s Junior Leaders. Students meet for a class on leadership four times during the year, learning about a different Bible leader. Then, they also complete at least four service projects as a group. I loved meeting with our leaders!

Keepers. Based on Proverbs 31, Keepers helps young ladies prepare to be able to do certain things in their homes in the future, such as table setting, sewing, gardening, and more. This is a wonderful event to have mentors for, so there is intergenerational interaction in the congregation.

Providers. This event is the same as Keepers, but is for young men, and emphasizes some skills they will need in their adult years, such as basic plumbing, financial basics, and more. Make note of the fact that boys can do one Keepers event each year, and girls can do one Providers event each year. For example, this past year, all our Keepers and Providers learned about First Aid kits.

Know the Books. Starting with learning how to sing either the Old Testament books or New Testament books, students grow by being able to say the books without singing them, then learn a theme for each book. We have worked on this in our Pew Packers at 9th Avenue throughout the years, and it is amazing to see the kids learn these long lists!

Read the Word. The event is just what it sounds like. Students are challenged to read the Old Testament, New Testament, or both during the year. I’m proud that our two have both done the New Testament the last two years! This year, Turner is trying to read the Old Testament, and Mary Carol is making a run at the whole Bible!!!

Teach to Teach. Technically, Mary Carol was too young to be involved this past year, but we let her try it, and she will be involved this year. In this event, students learn how to teach a Bible class by sitting in with a teacher, then helping, then (eventually) teaching a lesson. A great mentor event!

Year Round Bible Reading/Study. We started this for last year’s convention, but did not finish. Students read the Bible to others, but must complete a certain number of readings by the deadline. This event’s highest level also incorporates the Advanced Bible Reader from Apologetics Press, which we wrote about in this article.

Year Round Bulletin Board. Students change their congregation’s bulletin boards a certain number of times each year. We have a zillion bulletin boards in our church building, so several of our Lads to Leaders participants have been “assigned” a board. Mary Carol and Turner both try to change their board about once each quarter.

Year Round Song LeadingTurner completed this event this year and was so proud. Students simply lead a few different songs throughout the year to different audiences. There is also an event for young ladies, and we hope Mary Carol will do that this year.

Bible Bowl Test. In addition to the Bible Bowl team event at convention, there is an individual test given in February over the same material. We also have our kids take this test as a way to see where they stand in preparation for the test at convention.

Mass Media. This has many different categories, and both Mary Carol and Turner wrote an article/editorial this past year. (Mary Carol’s won 3rd place!) We hope they will want to do an audio presentation this year, too. This is a great event for students who want to expand their knowledge of ways to present the Gospel.

There are other events that are also year-round that we have not yet done. Here they are:

GIFTS is an event for girls in grades 6-12, where they study a book together and complete projects. Mary Carol wants to do this this year.

GUARD is a similar event, but is for young men, grades 6-12.

Headed to the Office is for young men and is meant to prepare them for, one day, desiring to be an elder.

Second Langauge helps students learn to use a second language to speak simple phrases, as well as to teach the Gospel. (One of the coolest things I’ve seen was a couple of years ago where a student earned an award in Second Language, and her “second language” was English!)

Year Round PowerPoint Presentation lets students help in making presentations for sermons or classes at various times throughout the year.

Year Round Speech lets students present various speeches at different times during the year.

Pearls is a classbook that is based upon the Bible Bowl books for the year, but is more of a “topical” study, and a test is given in February on the book’s material.

Why Should We Try These?

That list can seem overwhelming, no doubt, but we love emphasizing these year round events. Picking even one or two can be of great benefit, even if your family is not involved in Lads to Leaders.

Why? Because they are organized, and provide you something to shoot for!

For example, if you choose to work on Centurion of Scripture, instead of just saying, “We’ll memorize some verses together,” you now have the challenge of memorizing 100 verses during the course of a year.

But if you are involved in Lads to Leaders, let me challenge you to pick a few of these events and get started! They help instill in your children the need to grow daily, and they continue to be thinking about Lads to Leaders throughout the year!


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

They’re Not Characters in a Story

“What was your story about today?” (a father to his child on the way home from worship)

“The character we are going to talk about today in our Bible story is ________.” (a Bible class teacher to her students)

“Turn in your Bible to the story found in ________.”  (a preacher of God’s word)

These statements and many others like them have been on my mind a lot lately. I keep hearing the accounts found in the Bible referred to as stories, and the people within those accounts referred to as characters in a story. We even talk about buying a Bible storybook for our children or grandchildren – right along with the fictional storybooks we may also buy for them.

Please forgive me if you think I’m being picky. I really don’t mean to be, but because we live in such an entertainment-saturated world, I want to make a point in this short little post.

The accounts found in my Bible are not stories, and the people who lived through those accounts are not characters in a book.

When I open the pages of my Bible I read about real flesh and blood people who lived hundreds of years ago and encountered some events in their lives which I’m not sure I could have handled. Noah and his family come to my mind, along with Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Esther, Ruth, Daniel, Paul, Jesus and this list could go on and on. 

They lived through events in their lives which we only read about. If we aren’t careful, we will begin to think of them as fictional characters and not as real flesh and blood people. We may begin to think about the happenings in their lives as fiction and not true accounts of real events. We won’t identify with the reality of what they encountered or suffered through as they maintained their belief in the one true God. We won’t recognize the mistakes many of them made (which serve as examples for us) if our view is that they are characters in a story.

Many are caught up in a world of fictional people and events via books, magazines, comics, TV, movies, video games, etc. Satan delights when people spend countless hours in this type of entertainment because they are filling their minds with many things that move their thinking away from reality.

Be careful how you refer to what or whom you are reading or teaching about from your Bible. They aren’t characters in a story. They are the people and the accounts which the men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote about so that we could know our way to God.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)


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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

4 Reasons Why Text Messages Can Lead to Broken Relationships

We live in the age of information and instant communication. As I am writing this article I am having a text message conversation with my mother who is in New Zealand. We can text each other and receive the messages across the world in less than a second. Technology is really amazing. It is so amazing that we have decided to pretty much let it take over our lives.
This text messaging business is so convenient it just might nearly be the very end of us.
Let’s face it. We will all admit that texting is sometimes what we want to do because we don’t want to get into a deep conversation with someone. Or maybe we don’t think we have time to deal with someone or something and so we can just shorten it all by texting. Maybe we don’t have free time at the moment and so texting is the polite but simple way to say we will talk about it later. But it’s the 21st century. We are busy. And often what we say we are going to talk about later never really gets discussed at all. And guess what. The number one cause of a broken relationship is poor communication or lack of it. How ironic! We texted! We actually thought we were doing a great job communicating!
Here are a few reasons why texting, though convenient, can lead to broken relationships:
1. With text messaging, there is no voice inflection and there are no nonverbal communication clues. Even something as simple as, “I’m sorry” – can either be meant sincerely or flippantly depending on the timing and the context. How often do we mistakenly emote something through texting that was not intended? How often do we take something someone has texted to us the wrong way because we did not understand the heart that was behind the words that were communicated?
2. Text messages happen so fast we haven’t had time to stop and think long enough to respond correctly. Someone texts us something we don’t understand or like (already discussed). It’s so easy to just respond from head to thumbs with a quick reply before we have had time to digest it. This escalates arguments, hurts feelings, and invokes unhealthy words and conversations. A quick reply text is the modern day proverbial sticking one’s foot in one’s mouth!
3. We often pause to wait for a reply text that never comes. You know what I am talking about. You text something that the other person may not want to hear, then….silence! The no reply text may be the loudest silence on earth. Are they mad at me? What are they thinking? Did they understand what I meant? They are not talking to me now! Now I’m mad too! (Assuming they are mad). We are so expectant upon others to quickly reply to us that we come up with 1000 reasons why the person didn’t text us back. And none of the reasons are ever good. Sometimes we find out later that they got interrupted by a call or their phone died or something else happened. And here we were thinking the world was ending and they hated us all just because we have let text messages make us completely impatient!
4. We use poor judgment when we decide to discuss anything that is truly important by texting. If it is worth talking about it, this is exactly what we should do. Instant messaging can be great and so helpful. We can tell our loved ones we made it somewhere safely. We can tell them where we are and what we are doing. But when it comes time to talk about anything that really matters to us, we need to respect the ones we love enough to come into their presence, put all devices away, and sit down one on one and talk it out together. No problem or question or controversy or anxiety should ever be attempted to be solved through text messaging. We owe it to the people we love to give them the proper amount of time and the consideration of our actual presence in order that we might participate in real, meaningful, and full relationships.
Texting is convenient. It can be a blessing in many ways. But abused, just like any tool of communication, it WILL lead to relationship disaster.
“…You will make me full of joy in Your presence.” – Acts 2:28
—————————————

An Overlooked and Apparently Much-Needed Ministry

As I type these words, I am a little less than two months into my “retirement.” The reason for those quotation marks is that retirement has not meant that I am sitting on a beach, hiking mountain trails, or going on extended road trips or cruises. At this point, it appears that the Lord may have had another phase of ministry in mind for Donna and me.

The phone will ring or a text will be received. Another preacher – or maybe a preacher and his wife – “just needs somebody to talk to.” He – or they – wonder if one or both of us can and will spend some time with them.

The fact that I am no longer preaching full-time means that it is easier for us to be more available than was previously the case. The fact that we love the Lord, His church, and those who preach means that we are eager to help if we can. 

Since I no longer have an office outside of our house, I – or we – have spent time with people in our home; in restaurants or coffee shops; in somebody else’s home; and other places. I really believe that a casual environment, rather than the more formal environment of an office, may be more conducive to what we are trying to do.

What exactly is it that we are trying to do? 

We are trying to minister to ministers (and their wives).

I’m wondering if you might be able to join Donna and me in that ministry. There are no special qualifications. You do not have to be a retired preacher. You do not have to be a current preacher. You do not have any special training or wear any “official title.”

All you need to do is realize that, like you and your family, your preacher and his family are people.

Take it from one who knows. A man does not become superhuman merely because he is a preacher. There are limits to his endurance, ability to schedule, and patience. 

A minister is not protected by some sort of shield or bubble. Neither is his family. They all live in the same world as the rest of us.

Your minister and his family have the same struggles that you and your family experience. They have the same emotions as you and your family. They have the same desire/need as anybody else to be loved and accepted for who they are; not what somebody expects them to be. 

Like you, your preacher tries to make sure that he and his family do not run out of money before they run out of month. They actually do get sick from time to time. They grieve when they lose loved ones. Insults and snubs hurt them just as much as they hurt you. 

Do you need somebody with whom you can “just be yourself” and have a good time? Your minister, his wife, and their children (if any) do also. 

Do you need a true and trusted friend? Specifically, do you need somebody with whom you can share some very personal things and know that what is shared will stay between the two of you? Your minister and his family need that, too.

If geography, divorce, estrangement, and/or death has separated you from your physical family, do you appreciate those who really make you a part of the church family where you worship? Guess what? Your preacher and his family would appreciate that as well.

Who benefits if a minister has a minister? Obviously, he does. If you understand how important it is to know that somebody cares, why not let your preacher experience that as well? Only the Lord knows how many good men have left a local congregation or have totally given up on preaching because they thought nobody cared for them, their families, or their efforts.

The preacher’s family could benefit both directly and indirectly should you choose to accept my invitation to be a minister in this way. If you choose to “be there” for his wife and/or children, you will be helping them directly and him indirectly. If you choose to minister to him, your efforts will have an impact on his wife and children. You and your efforts could help change the entire dynamic of a family.

Your efforts could also change an entire congregation. It could very well be that the atmosphere, enthusiasm, and involvement would improve because the man who stands up to preach on a regular basis knows that the people love him. He also knows that they know that he loves them. When those times come when he must preach “unpleasant subjects,” they know that he is not trying to “pin somebody’s ears back.” He is trying to touch their hearts.

The “new commandment” given by our Lord was that His followers were to love each other. Not only was that the case, but He also said that others would know His followers by our love for one another (cf. John 13:34-35).

The context of that passage has Jesus washing the feet of His apostles. As many have pointed out in the past, He was doing something that nobody else either was willing to do or had thought to do. 

Maybe nobody else is willing to minister to ministers. Maybe nobody else has thought about it.

Will you?


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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

Episode 78: Lads to Leaders 2017 [Podcast]

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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah are joined by some very special guests to talk about Lads to Leaders and why we are looking forward to going in a few days.

Below, you will find several resources about Lads to Leaders to help you think about this good program for your family or the congregation where you worship.

Resources

Lads to Leaders [homepage]

Lads to Leaders Facebook Page

How Lads to Leaders Can Help Families” [A Legacy of Faith; May 15, 2015]

A Tool for Growing Families” [The Colley House; April 9, 2010]

Five Minutes with Bartimaeus” [blog post about “Bartimaeus” event at Lads to Leaders; A Legacy of Faith; April 6, 2016]

Resource: Advanced Bible Reader from Apologetics Press” [Advanced Bible Reader can be done as a Lads to Leaders event; A Legacy of Faith; June 29, 2016]

A Family Challenge: Memorize and Entire Book of the Bible” [Podcast]

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Legacy Recipe: Low Carb Taco Bake [Free Printable]

If you are on a low carb eating plan, or have ever thought about cutting down on carbs in your diet, I thought you might like this little recipe which is one of our favorites. Hope you enjoy it too!!!

LOW CARB TACO BAKE

CRUST:

4 oz. cream cheese (softened)

3 eggs

1/3 cup heavy cream (no substitutes)

½ tsp. taco seasoning

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Beat the cream cheese and eggs until smooth. 

Add the cream and seasonings.

Grease a 9×13 baking dish and spread the shredded cheese over the bottom of the dish.

Pour egg mixture evenly over the cheese.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before adding the topping.

TOPPING:

1 pound ground beef

3 tsps. Taco seasoning

I can Rotel tomatoes (drained well)

¼ cup chopped onion (optional)

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the hamburger; drain the fat. 

Stir in the seasoning and Rotel.

Spread over the crust and top with shredded cheese.

Reduce the oven to 350 and bake another 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Serve with toppings of your choice.

Makes 8 servings @ 2.5 net carbs

Can be frozen.

Optional toppings:

¼ cup shredded lettuce

1 Tbs. sour cream

1 Tbs. salsa

Ripe olives

Switch to Italian seasoning and mozzarella cheese and have your version of pizza!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!!

Click the image below for a free printable version of this recipe.

Some Thoughts on Sending Personal Notes

Over the last few months, I have been making an effort to send more cards with personal notes inside. I still am nowhere near as good at is as I need to be, but I’m working on it. (In fact, that’s why I’m writing this post…to hold myself accountable!)

[Side Note: I do have one major excuse for not writing cards, by the way. My handwriting is awful. In fact, the only “C” I ever got in school was in 5th-grade in handwriting. The problem goes way back! In fact, it is not uncommon for me to have someone tell me something like, “Thank you for the card. I couldn’t quite make out all it said, but I say your name.”]

Oh well. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Despite my horrible handwriting, I have gotten some pleasure out of sending cards. Further, my business cards are the type that “open up” like a card, so I can leave a short handwritten note on the inside. I like that personal touch, so it is not just a “dry” business card, but is personal for that attempted visit.

May I encourage all of us to send more handwritten cards? Here are 3 reasons why a handwriten card or note means so much.

Personal. This is a card to you and a note to you. Even if is a short note as you recover from surgery that could be similar (or virtually the same) as one sent to another person, it is still your name and your card. It means the sender sees you as a person and wants this note to be to you. That means something very special.

Thoughtful. The note may be short or long. But you do not commit to writing a card without thinking at least a little bit about what you want to say. If the message is nothing more than “thinking of you and praying for you today,” you know the thought behind that message is real. As much as I write (sermons, bulletin articles, this blog), I will admit that I am not very good at the wording of the cards I write. Still, I will also admit that thought goes into each one.

They Represent Time. I suppose the main reason people do not send cards is that it takes time to do so. It is faster to type out an email (which is not bad sometimes) or tap an emoji to someone. A card, however, takes a little work. The thought, the writing process, addressing the envelope, putting on the stamp, and placing it in the mail. No matter how short or long the note, though, it took time for that person to think of you and send that note. It means a great deal.

As I said, I am not good at this yet, but I am finding that I enjoy it more than I used to. I am still very hit-and-miss on the “types” of cards I send (for example, I will send to some who are sick, but then fall off the wagon and not send to others), but I’m trying to do better. I currently keep a box of these cards on my desk to remind me to get to it!

So…if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be writing a couple of cards today.

How about you?


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn