Category Archives: Family

Get Out of the Blues

We all have difficult days. Our mood can be down and we can feel depressed. Even as Christians, there are seasons of life where we just struggle to feel “up.”

In fact, some suggest we are more likely to feel down in the cold and dark Winter, so maybe the changing of seasons is enough to break us from a difficult time.

But in case it is more than that, what can we do to get out of the blues?

[DISCLAIMER: This post is not speaking about clinical depression. That is a serious issue and we would never dare say that the things we are going to suggest are “the fix” for it. If you suffer from that type of depression, we pray for you and hope that doctors and others can help.]

If you are just feeling a little down, let me give a few practical steps to GET out of the blues.

GET into the Word. We need to remember that the Gospel is good news! Don’t you need to be reminded of that when you are in a difficult season of life? Yes, you may have difficult days and you may struggle for awhile. But if you are a Christian, your Savior has already defeated the enemy and you have the blissful hope of heaven. Read the Bible and be reminded of that!

GET on Your Knees. God wants to hear all your heartaches and struggles. Even if you think you are just going through a little lull, the Lord wants to know that. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

GET Outside. Sometimes we are down just because we have been staring at the same four walls for what seems like forever. Filling your lungs with fresh air and feeling the breeze and sunshine on your face can do wonders to lift your spirits. (Oh, and it reminds you of the awesome power and creativity of God, too.)

GET Some Exercise. It doesn’t have to be 12 hours of weightlifting (thank goodness). Just go for a brisk walk, or play catch with your kid. Take a bike ride or do some yard work. When the blood gets moving again and your muscles and joints are moving more, it helps pump good hormones through your body.

GET with a Friend. It may be your spouse, or it may be an old friend you just like catching up with over lemonade or lunch. But if they are truly a friend, you can confide in them that you are struggling. They will pray for you. They will help you smile. They will care…and sometimes, that’s all you need.

GET a Healthy Meal. When we feel bad, we often complicate it by eating poorly. We fill up on “comfort” food (which is often junk food) and then we start to not be as physically healthy. It is amazing what a couple of good, healthy meals will do for you when you are down. It doesn’t have to be a giant salad, either. Just avoiding junk and eating balanced and healthy meals will work wonders.

GET into Service. Few things do more to lift our spirits than to help someone else. Go visit a nursing home. Help an elderly lady clean out her flower beds. Run a dessert by the house of someone who is shut in. You will be reminded of some good things that you have, and you will take your thoughts off of yourself and pour them into the life of another.

It is okay to have a down day. We all do, and God understands that not every day will be filled with laughter and smiles.

But if you find yourself down, see if getting into these things doesn’t help you start to feel a little better and more optimistic.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

[Quote] Parents Need to Step Up with Their Sons

Source: Dr. Meg Meeker, Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons, page 224

A Poem Every Parent Needs to Remember

Today’s post is very simple. It is a poem that you have probably heard before, but that every parent needs to keep in mind as we seek to raise those precious treasures God has given to us.

The poem is called “When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking,” and the author is Mary Rita Schlike Korazan. We hope it encourages us all.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I looked….
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.


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Yes, Our Kids Are Sheltered in Their Entertainment. Yes, We Want It That Way.

Our family loves movie night! On Friday nights when we are at home, odds are we will have a simple supper and sit down in our living room to watch a movie. It’s been a tradition now for 4 or 5 years, and we love it.

We also enjoy going to movies sometimes. While it is expensive, we enjoy making it a special outing. We don’t go see every “kids’ movie” that is produced, because we want a trip to the movies to be special.

Though we watch quite a few movies, have a couple of favorite TV shows on DVD, and enjoy listening to the radio at times, we are very selective in what we let our kids see and hear through the entertainment media.

Very selective.

If they take the Lord’s name in vain? We don’t watch it.

If there is cursing..at all? We don’t watch it.

If there is homosexuality? We don’t watch it.

If there is immodesty? We don’t watch it.

And, yes, there is more on our “don’t watch” list, but I figured you didn’t want to read every possible thing we will not watch.

I sometimes hear parents talk about choosing movies and TV shows and they have very low standards for their children (sometimes, even small children). One reason they often give is this: “I don’t want my kids to be sheltered as to what is really out there.”

Really? That’s our logic?

Now, let me say this: I fully understand that we cannot keep our kids as “kids” forever. Virtually every day I am struck by how quickly they are growing. In fact, as I write this, my “little” boy will be 10 in just a few days, so both of my children will be in double-digits for their ages. They will not be kids forever.

And I want them to know that sin is real and it is out there in the world. We are not trying to hide the fact that people do bad and sinful things. We are not trying to make them think that everyone on the planet goes to church and always speaks properly and always dresses in modest apparel (a trip to a shopping center or high school football game will teach them that that’s not the case).

Two Reasons Why I Feel This Way

But, when it comes to entertainment? Yes, I want to shelter my children. Yes, I like it that way. And here are two reasons why.

First, I want to teach them that just because it is produced for entertainment does not mean that we have to consume it. It is remarkable how many children in Christian homes are experts on virtually every entertainment option that is produced. They have seen all the movies. They watch a constant stream of TV shows. They can name music artists and songs…

…just like people in the world can.

We are not required to be entertained in order to survive! I want to teach them discernment in their entertainment. (By the way, that means I must model that in my own entertainment choices, as well.) Instead of just vegging out in front of whatever is on, I want them to see that there is more to life than just mindlessly consuming whatever is put out there in the world of entertainment.

Second, I want to shelter them because I do not want Hollywood opening the eyes of my children. It is not up to Hollywood to educate my kids. It’s not up to record producers, radio stations, iTunes, DirecTV, or Google, either. It’s up to me!

Christian parents, we have got to quit just giving lip service to saying our children need to be morally pure. We cannot say that and then let the entertainment industry teach them their version of morality. Hollywood’s morals are going to slide further downward over time. We know this.

But since we know that, how can we just let them feed our children more and more rude, crude, vile, and immodest material? Our children, literally, are not ready for what Hollywood feeds them, yet we let them have the minds of our children.

Not this parent! I want to show them what sin is from the Bible, and show them how to stay away from it. I want to be the one to help them begin to think through how to face temptation, not let them see Hollywood’s “just do what feels good” message.

So, yes, they are sheltered when it comes to entertainment. And, yes, I like it that way.

Because it is one way in which I, as a parent, am refusing to abdicate my responsibility to parent.

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.

I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. (Psalm 101:3)


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Episode 76: Reflections on Louisville, Dealing with Entertainment Choices, You Can Get Your Family to Worship on Time, and More! [Podcast]

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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah talk about some recent goings-on, they discuss how Christians can deal with entertainment choices, and encourage families with tips to get ready for worship.

Plus, they talk a little college basketball. It is March, after all!

Resources below.

Links

Is Genesis History? [Homepage]

To Go or Not to Go…” [Amber Tatum; A Legacy of Faith]

6 Tips for Getting to Church On Time” [Of the Hearth]

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To Go or Not to Go…

To go or not to go?

That seems to be the question of the day lately. There are two movies causing quite a stir on my Facebook newsfeed so I would assume some of the rest of you are seeing the discussions as well.

This article is not going to address whether or not I am planning to see either movie. It is not going to address anything that will help you decide whether or not to see either movie. In fact, despite the name of the article, it is not about whether anyone attends either movie.

What I would like for us to consider here is the image we, as Christians, are portraying as we have these discussions about to go or not to go. Some feel very strongly about not supporting one or the other of these films. Others feel just as strongly that there is nothing wrong with one or both of the films. I am afraid that, as people try to argue for a viewpoint where they are trying to make a stand for truth or morality, they are actually damaging the bride of Christ simply by not tempering their words and attitudes.

I am pleading with brothers and sisters in Christ to be aware that the world is watching us as we have these discussions. They are watching for hypocrisy in the viewpoints expressed. They are watching for the attitude being displayed.

Remember, that we are to be the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Paul told Timothy to remember to “…set … an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul also warned the Corinthian church against such things as “quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20, emphasis added).

Beyond those warnings, we have the admonition of Christ in John 13:35 that “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” By all means, stay true to your convictions and don’t compromise your conscience, but be careful that as you are speaking the truth, you are doing so “in love” (Ephesians 4:15).


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AUTHOR: Amber Tatum

An Odd Reminder of Mortality

It was a bookkeeping error, and it led to a good laugh, but it was also eye-opening.

A man strode into my office recently with a big grin on his face. He handed me a piece of paper and told me I had to see it. It was a form letter from a life insurance company, but it might as well have been right out of a stand-up comedian’s stage show.

After the official mumbo-jumbo at the top of the letter, the first line stated, “We express our condolences for the loss of [person’s name].”

What made it funny? The man who handed me the letter was the one named on the piece of paper!

That’s right, the insurance company addressed a letter to a man expressing their regret that the same man was now dead!

Stories like this happen at times. I suppose one of the more famous in world history is that of Alfred Nobel, after whom the Nobel Peace Prize is named. Recently, the Academy Awards put the name and face of a film worker in their “in memoriam” piece, and she later tweeted that she was, in fact, alive and doing quite well.

We laugh at instances like these but they also serve as fair warning that Hebrews 9:27 continues to be true. The writer stated that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

As the old hymn states, “Earthly life is only one short day when compared with eternity.” At times, it seems that life is crawling along, but James was right when he said that our life is as a mist (or vapor), in that it “appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

Still, it is rare to come face-to-face with that reality like receiving a life insurance letter about your own death.

But, may I ask, what would the realization that we are mortal and that our life is brief do to us if we would keep it ever before us?

While some might want to go “skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing” or ride a bull named Fu-Manchu (sorry, couldn’t resist), that is not what Scripture would have us focus on. Those things are not wrong, but may I suggest even more important things?

Tell someone about Jesus.

Invest time in your family.

Run away from sin and toward the cross.

Bask in the majesty of God’s grace.

Those sound like ways to live when we realize that we are mortal and time is fleeting. In fact, that sounds like a good way to live each day.

Because one day, that letter will come with your name on it and it won’t be an error.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

The Real Reason Your Child Might Leave the Church

Nobody knows what is going to happen to their kids. We don’t know how they will perform in the world. We don’t know who they will marry, what friends they will choose, or what kind of career they will have. We don’t know if they will always be healthy and happy and safe like we want them to be. And so we raise them as best we can and give them to the Lord.
Christian parents who currently have children at home have one thing in particular that they are worried about. They are concerned that their children might leave the church. I have seen several studies over the years that have provided statistics concerning the faithfulness of children who leave home. They usually agree that half of the kids who are raised in the church leave the church after the age of 18. The studies also find that marrying a Christian is essential to their faithfulness to God and to the marriage – although every situation is individual, and there are no guarantees. Yes, you could literally do everything correctly and your child might still leave the church.
But I think there is a deeper reason why kids who are raised in the church tend to leave the faith. It is because we take them to worship without every converting them to Christ – and that is because many of us have never been fully converted ourselves! I have been in the church all of my life and I have seen the culture change. I have seen the generational divide develop between baby-boomers, gen-Xers, and millennials. I have seen the fall-out that comes from “inherited faith.” I have seen the different paths young people have followed that have led them away from the Lord. But I believe the biggest problem is really a matter of the heart.
Why is it that our children grow up thinking worship is optional? Why is it that they bend to the beliefs of their denominational friends? Why is it that they are more self-aware and less others-aware when it comes to what they see as the purpose of their Christianity? Why is it that they are more involved in college and career and sports and entertainment and travel and everything else than they are the church?
The reason is that for too many Sundays we have merely brought them. We have falsely convinced ourselves that just by exposing them to Christ somehow all of the principals they need to know that will guide them to a life fully dedicated to the Lord will just happen to be there and they will magically latch on.
We volunteer to coach their ball teams, do scouts with them, and are more than willing to commit with them to every commercial and community activity that is available. But it was always someone else who taught their Bible class. It was always some other family that hosted the teen devotional. It was always the youth minister or the preacher that they talked to about spiritual matters. It was always the secular event that took precedence over the spiritual event and therefore they have learned what is really important to us. We did not teach them to love Jesus. We did not get Christ and the church so deeply into them that there was no possible way that those things would ever get out of them.
The real reason MANY, but not ALL of our children might leave the faith is because of US! You can’t just bring them to church and hope for the best. God has held us accountable to so much more as parents! If God isn’t in your home every single day, then eventually for your kids He is not going to be there at all.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-9
———————————–

Swift Transition

Many are familiar with a song that begins with these words:

Time is filled with swift transition –
Naught of earth unmoved shall stand.

The past few weeks or so have demonstrated the truth of those words on so many levels. Globally, the transition was from one year to the next. While we all could prepare for and plan for the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, the actual transition took place in a second (or maybe a fraction of a second).

After a seemingly endless “election cycle,” our national government made the transition from one presidential administration to another. While there was so much preparation and anticipation, it seemed sudden to me when the Chief Justice of The United States Supreme Court administered the oath of office to Mr. Trump and then said simply, “Congratulations, Mr. President.” One man was no longer our president and another man now held that office – again in almost the blink of an eye (or less).

What was true on that level was also true in other branches of our federal government and in a variety of state and local governments. Various elections and appointments on a variety of levels caused “swift transitions.”

On a personal level, when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2016, I was no longer one of the preachers for the Central church of Christ in Paducah KY. In fact, after over thirty-eight years of preaching, I am now no longer preaching “full-time.” As I type these words, I am still trying to come up with an answer to a question that I’m being asked repeatedly: “How is retirement?” My “stock answer” is that I’m still trying to figure that out.

Again, there was prayer, conversation, planning, anticipation, etc. involved in this decision. Even with all of that being true, from the perspective of looking back on how the events transpired, my “retirement” was/is, indeed, a swift transition.

It seems to me that so many things in life are swift transitions. There is a moment in time when a child is no longer in the mother’s womb to somebody who needs our attention in order to survive. A moment in time is really all it takes for that child to transition to not being formally educated to becoming a student in a public school system or in a home school environment.

Years later, that same child makes the swift transition from being a student to a graduate. He or she may change from being single to being a spouse in what seems like a split second.

The transitions that happen in life involve relationships, geography, employment, age, and a host of other factors. They all seem to be swift.

I have been with members of my own family as they made the transition from time to eternity. I have been with members of other families as they have had the experience of making that transition. I have received those phone calls that inform me of a sudden and unexpected departure from this life. Whenever and however death comes, that last heartbeat and/or breath is a signal to those left behind that there is a transition for which we all need to be prepared.

The Bible speaks of an event that will take place “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…” (1 Cor. 15:52). Contrary to the teaching of some, this event will take place without warning and without any subsequent opportunities to change our eternal destiny.

Knowing that, the rest of the first verse of the hymn referred to above contains some valuable, practical, and much-needed admonition:

Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.


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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

[Quote] For All You Busy Parents Who are Struggling

SOURCE: For Better or For Kids by Patrick & Ruth Schwenk. (Page 220)