Category Archives: Family

[Quote] Balance in Parenting

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SOURCE: Be the Dad She Needs You to Be: The Indelible Imprint a Father Leaves on His Daughter’s Life by Kevin Leman (page 162)

[Quote] Proper Perspective on Work and Family

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SOURCE: When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley. (Pages 88-89)

One Small Decision, A Family Tradition, and Saving Almost $500 Each Year

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A few years ago when our family moved to Nashville we made a very hard decision. You see, we were barely 30 years old. We had realized early on in our marriage that living in perpetual debt was not for us. We had paid off a relatively small student loan and we had paid off our car. Then we did this little thing called adoption and found ourselves in debt again, along with another car payment.

We were tired. We had two children under the age of 3, with their futures in our very hands and we were determined to put an end to paycheck-to-paycheck living. We wanted to start saving some money.

We finally began to understand that if we wanted our lives to look different, we had to start living differently. What a concept.

A Couple of Big Changes

We made some big changes. One was to refrain from car payments. This is no small thing, because we had one car at the time, in Nashville, and we lived 15 minutes from the church building where Adam worked. We knew we needed another car. It would have been easy to go buy a car and have a “small” $200 car payment. We were serious, though, and decided that one good car was enough. We bought an old car that Adam could use traveling back and forth from work. I love my husband for many reasons. One of which is that he was willing to drive a car without heat, air, and a radio during that time.

This was also about the time we decided to turn off our cable. That decision wasn’t only about money, but the $70 monthly bill sure wasn’t winning us over. That decision truly transformed our family. We were forced to think of other things to do. As our children grew older, they also were forced to think of other things to do. Television shows and movies became a treat and a decision; not a default. These were some big changes we made, but there was also a small decision that really made an impact on our family.

The Small Change with Big Impact

We found out that controlling our spending was a lot harder in Nashville where there were approximately 30 billion restaurants (and it seemed that about 10 billion of them were on our drive home from worship).

We noticed a pattern every Sunday morning. After worship, all of our friends would start making plans about where to eat lunch. Inevitably, our friends would invite us along. We would go along for a couple of reasons. First, we didn’t want to be impolite. Second, I didn’t have anything already prepared back at home.

We knew this would be a problem. After all, even as young as our kids were then, we were spending at least $80 each month for Sunday lunch. That may not seem like a lot to you, but to us at that time that was a lot of money.

So, we made a plan. We decided to start making our own Sunday lunch. I knew myself well enough to know that in order for this plan to work, Sunday lunch needed to be “in the oven” before we headed to worship. It was during this time that I learned how to roast a chicken, which, by the way, is very easy. I also got pretty good at cooking a roast. We figured that all told, we could eat for around $10 at home, when you consider the leftover meat and broth. In addition, we almost always had Sunday night sandwiches taken care of from the leftovers.

We began inviting other families over to eat with us because we knew that Sunday dinner is a great time to visit with other young families who would otherwise be too busy during the week.

I know that others say that the expense of eating out is worth it because they are visiting with other families. Well, we were visiting with other families too, and in addition, we were building a wonderful tradition of a nice Sunday dinner every week.

Plus…we had around $40 dollars extra a month!

What $40 Each Month Could Mean

Now, I know that saving $40 a month might not seem worth it to some people, but I want to encourage you to look at what $40 dollars could do for your family.

For that same $40, you could order a subscription to “Discovery” magazine for your child and order every Apologetics Press “Learn to Read” or “Advanced Reader” series of books and still have at least $12 left over.

Or you could order a one-year subscription to Gospel Advocate and Christian Woman magazines with a couple of dollars still in your pocket.

If you are not in the buying mood, you could give $40 more dollars to the work of the Lord or you could pay off S40 of your debt that month. Do the math and that little change adds up to almost $500 in one year’s time.

Conclusion

You see, a small change in your life can have big effects. The obvious is financial, but as you can see, we got much more than a financial benefit from this small change in our life.


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AUTHOR: Leah Faughn

Resource: Advanced Bible Reader from Apologetics Press

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It is now the middle of summer. The heat is causing your kids to want to stay indoors all the time, and it feels like the beginning of school is never going to get here.

You want your children to still be kids, but at the same time you don’t want them to just waste all summer on the couch watching television.

What can you do?

Today, I want to share a great resource we recently signed our kids up for that we are already loving….and it’s free!

It’s called Advanced Bible Reader (or “ABR” for short), and it is a great faith-building resource from our friends at Apologetics Press.

What Is ABR?

Advanced Bible Reader’s own website starts with these simple words: “The purpose of this program is to encourage young people ages 5-13 to read the Bible and learn what it says.” While those may be simple words, I hope that, as a Christian parent, you see the eternal value in them!

ABR simply asks young people to read the Bible (or related books and materials by Apologetics Press), then take a short quiz on what they have read. As your kids take and pass these tests, they earn “points” to track their progress. The homepage for ABR then displays the top performers over time.

Further, if you or your congregation is involved in Lads to Leaders, ABR can help your child earn a gold award in the “Year-Round Bible Reading” category. While it takes a lot of work to earn that award, it is great motivation to keep them going.

What Do They Read?

Here is what I love the most. When I first heard of ABR, I thought it was only based upon books and other materials designed for young people from Apologetics Press. Certainly, that is a major component. From books for very young children like Fish, Flies, and Fleas to more advanced materials like Dinosaurs Unleashed, children read and then take tests on these faith-building materials. Also, back issues of “Discovery” magazine can be used for the tests.

However, there are also readings and tests on every book of the Bible! Of course, longer books (Genesis, Isaiah, etc.) are broken down into a few chapters at a time, so the student does not have to try to remember everything from these lengthy books for the quiz. Shorter books (Ruth, for example) are all contained in one test. Again, this is a wonderful way to encourage Bible reading. And further, if you are involved in Lads to Leaders, this is a good supplement for several events: Bible Bowl, Year-Round Bible Reading, Parade of Winners, and Centurion of Scripture.

Three Things We Like

As I said, we are very new to signing up for ABR (as in, less than a week in!). Already, though, our kids are really loving it. Here are three reasons why I wanted our children to be involved.

  1. Personal Reading/Study. If my son wants to read a book about dinosaurs, while my daughter wants to be studying a book for her Lads to Leaders Bible Bowl, that’s fine. They can each be reading Biblical material, then seeing how much they are actually retaining that material through the tests. This fosters in them an understanding of personal Bible study.
  2. Sound material. Obviously, the Bible is sound! However, we are big fans of the work that Apologetics Press does, especially for children and young people. Having my kids desire to read these materials over and over again is a major plus. We have many of the books, but plan to order others as our children need them for this program.
  3. Outstanding Use of Time. As I began this post, I noted how here in mid-summer, kids can get a bit of the “blahs” and just want to veg out. Using ABR, they are motivated to spend some time reading and growing in their faith, and they are motivated to do so on their own, with very little prompting from mom or dad!

Conclusion and Resources

How much did signing up our kids for ABR motivate them? My son–the very first night–went into his room (and his sister’s room, too!) and pulled out all their books and materials from Apologetics Press and put them on a desk right in our living room. He wanted to stay up late reading another book, as did our daughter.

Parents, this is a great resource and–again–it’s free! Of course, you have to purchase Apologetics Press materials for your kids to read, but the ABR resource itself is a free website. To get started for free, simply concentrate on the tests on Scripture, then purchase Apologetics Press materials for your children as you are able. Who knows? You might even start a trend at your congregation of ordering these types of materials!

To sign up or to learn more, visit the Advanced Bible Reader website here.

[Also, on our podcast, Eric Lyons from AP did a program with me about the need to teach apologetics to our children. To hear that interview, click here.]


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Some Thoughts about Freedom

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As we prepare to celebrate the fact that thirteen colonies declared, and then fought to win, their independence from the most powerful country in the world at that time, I thought it might be appropriate to share a few thoughts about freedom. There seems to me to be a connection between the freedom which was so dear to them and the freedom we have in Christ (cf. John 8:36).

Freedom is not free. Those who signed the document declaring those colonies to be free from the domination of England pledged their “…Lives…Fortunes…and…Sacred Honor.” While there was recognition of, and appreciation for, “…the protection of Divine Providence…”, it is of interest to notice that that pledge was made to “…each other…” 

History records that many of those who signed that document lost a great deal in subsequent years. History also informs us that, in the war to actually gain the independence that had been declared, freedom came at a terrific cost.

Nothing can compare with the price paid for our freedom in Christ. It cost the Father his Son; it cost the Son his life; and it demands that those who would have this freedom would have to “…deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow [Jesus]” (Luke 9:23).

The price is high, but freedom is worth it.

Liberty is not license. Some may find it amazing that those original colonies did not throw off all law. They just rejected British law. They soon set about drafting constitutions, laws, and other means by which behavior could be regulated. They knew the difference between liberty and license.

This is also the case with regard to spiritual matters. In fact, it is specifically stated in Galatians 5:13 that, “…ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

Rhetoric is not reality. What the 4th of July celebrates is the Declaration of Independence, not the reality of independence. As alluded to earlier, the reality was not realized until many battles had been fought.

Jesus asked on one occasion, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46). In that statement, there is recognition of the fact that the words of many will not match reality. The claim may be that they are Christians; that they are followers of Christ; that they experience the freedom He promises. The fact may be that none of this is true.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free…” (Gal 5:1)


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Episode 58: 20 Things I Want My Children to Know, part 4 [Podcast]

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This week, we finish our four-part series, in which Adam has been sharing his list of 20 things he wants his children to know.

To listen to part 1, click here.

To listen to part 2, click here.

To listen to part 3, click here.

LOFpodcast

The Five Things Discussed in This Week’s Program:

16. I want them to know that God has a plan for their life.

17. I want them to know how to think through the world Biblically.

18. I want them to know that every person is made in the image of God.

19. I want them to know humility.

20. I want them to know that I will always be their daddy.

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Can Your Mate become Your Idol?

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Recently, a wonderful young Christian lady asked me the following question in a private Facebook message:

How are you and Leah able to keep Christ at the front of your relationship and not let each other become an idol?

I asked her if I could use that question to develop a blog article, and she agreed. While I’m certain this is not a perfect response, I pray it causes all of us to think about our marriages in a truly Biblical and God-honoring way.

First of all, her question is outstanding and insightful. It shows that this young lady realizes that Christ must always be our top priority. It also shows that she realizes the responsibility of husbands and wives to love and respect each other.

However, it also shows insight into something most people rarely consider: it is possible for my mate to take the place of God; to become an idol. We may not want to consider that, but anyone or anything can push God from first place in our lives if we allow it. That, by its very definition, is idolatry. God, however, must always be primary, including even above my spouse.

It is a Struggle

We need to admit, first of all, that this is a real struggle. What is interesting to me, though, is that the Bible admits that it would be! In 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Paul wrote the following words by inspiration:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. (emphasis added)

Paul writes that, for the one who is married, interests are “divided” (literally, “split into factions”). Without going deeply into the context, notice his purpose in writing these words. He said at the end of that paragraph that he wanted “to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”

In other words, God needs to be first, but it is understandable that this is a struggle when we are married.

A married Christian loves the Lord but also has his wife or her husband to consider. Then, there are those things that naturally come with marriage (finances, sexuality, and so forth) that weigh on the mind. It is easy to put the marriage–and even our mate–in the place of God as far as our mental energy and our efforts are concerned.

Remember the “Picture”

So, what is the solution? I am not sure there is a “three-step” or “five things” list I could share to keep this from happening. We love our mate and we desire to show that love and respect constantly.

I believe the key, however, is to emphasize and remember what is really pictured in a Christian marriage. Ephesians 5:22-32 is, I suppose, the most commonly used passage concerning Christian marriage in the Bible. Paul speaks to wives and husbands in a beautiful but straightforward fashion. Often, we emphasize the husband-wife relationship from this passage, as is right, but we fail to see the parallel that underlies it all.

Near the end of that beautiful passage, Paul writes, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32).

How is that the key? Husbands and wives, when they enter the covenant of marriage, carry the vast responsibility of picturing the beauty of Christ’s relationship with His Church through their marriage.

Burton Coffman said it very well as he commented on this verse:

The exalted view, both of marriage and of the church of Jesus Christ, shines forth in this text. The sacredness of marriage is seen in God’s design of it, from the very beginning, to be a figure of the union of Christ and his church… (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, page 214)

The way I keep my mate from becoming an idol is to always keep in mind that, through every aspect of our marriage, we are picturing to the world the relationship between Christ and His church!

That displays itself in financial decisions, because a husband and wife will make decisions that honor each other, but God will always be first in each decision. “Giving” will be first on the family budget (not last), but money will also be spent to show love and respect to the spouse, so the marriage remains strong in order to picture Christ and His Church.

It displays itself in the sexual relationship of marriage. Of all belief systems, only Christianity teaches that the body of a wife belongs to her husband and the body of a husband belongs to his wife (1 Corinthians 7:4). The coming together of a husband and wife in the conjugal relationship should be joyful, regular, and selfless, because that act alone can demonstrate the true intimacy of Christ and His church.

It displays itself throughout time. Not only do husband and wife simply remain together “’til death separates” them, but they stay devoted to one another throughout life, as well. The reason is because Christ is devoted to His bride (the church), and the church strives to remain faithful throughout time to the Lord.

Conclusion

Again, is this always easy? Of course not! We love our spouse, and we desire to show that spouse honor and love. However, if we will remember that, as believers, the primary reason we do so is to show the glorious picture of Christ and His church to the world, we can keep Christ as the central point of our lives.

And, when we do that, as the husband and the wife pursue Christ first and foremost, it is amazing how truly close, devoted, and intimate their marriage will be for a lifetime. Nothing else could ever compare to that closeness.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Episode 57: 20 Things I Want My Children to Know, part 3 [Podcast]

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Continuing our four-part series, on this week’s podcast, Adam shares 5 more things on his list of 20 things he wants his children to know.

To listen to part 1, click here.

To listen to part 2, click here.

LOFpodcast

The Five Things Discussed on This Week’s Program

11. I want them to know manners.

12. I want them to know what it means to be a true gentleman/lady.

13. I want them to know how to handle rejection and failure.

14. I want them to love the New Testament Church

15. I want them to know that it is okay to have and express emotions.

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A Piece of My Mind

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I have been in the unique position recently to spend time talking with some dedicated Christian servants who happen to be older than me. I feel the need to share some of what they have been sharing with me:

  • They care about younger people, both children and their parents. This care has led them to expend amazing amounts of energy and creativity working on summer activities that are geared mostly toward these young families. And they are pleased that the young families turn out for these events. However, they are hurt and/or discouraged that some of those families only turn out for these events that are catered to the young families.
  • While they seem to work tirelessly, they are tired … but they won’t quit. One dear sister I know spent her days taking care of grandchildren and taking her mother to the doctor in another city before coming to teach her class each night of VBS. You see, to her, teaching children is just something that must be done even if you are tired. It is not an optional service. Another lady, eyes worn out from studying her Bible, is worried that there are some who think her “too old fashioned” with her teaching, but notice from where that teaching comes!
  • More than one respected Christian sister has talked to me about younger mothers coming to them for advice and when Biblical advice is given – such as “if they live in your home, they follow your rules” (Proverbs 15:24, 19:18. 22:15, 29:17) – the advice is shunned. That hurts. Why ask? Proverbs 19:20 still reads: “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

While my natural inclination is to give people a piece of my mind for hurting these loving servants of God, I’m trying to learn from their example, and that of my Savior, to instead offer a piece of my heart. Young ones – myself included – please don’t disrespect the advice of those who have walked this path before you. They are the very ones who got you to the place where you now stand. They taught you in Bible classes, listened to your teenage woes, supported your young dreams and continue to love and serve your young family. They have a strong and unique combination of having your best interest at heart and the experience and wisdom of years to see things you (we) cannot yet see.

The Bible is quite clear about which group of people in this world is most likely to have wisdom:

Job 12:12: “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”

1 Corinthians 2:6-7: “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.”

It is up to us to understand and respect that and to follow the advice of the old preacher to his son in Proverbs 4:5 “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.”

Oh … and don’t forget to say thank you! (That part is the piece of my mind! )


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Episode 56: 20 Things I Want My Children to Know, part 2 [Podcast]

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On last week’s podcast, Adam began sharing with you his list of 20 things he wants his children to know. If you missed that program, you can find it here.

This week, in part 2 of 4, he discusses five more things he hopes to instill in his children before they are grown.

LOFpodcast

The Five Things Discussed on This Week’s Program Are…

6. I want them to know that the devil and hell are both real.

7. I want them to know how to properly interpret Scripture.

8. I want them to know the peace that passes all understanding (trusting in prayer).

9. I want them to know that God still works through providence.

10. I want them to know the joy of diligent labor.

More from A Legacy of Faith

To subscribe to A Legacy of Faith by email for free click here.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

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