Category Archives: Family

Keep Looking

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My mother lost her diamond solitaire 30 years ago. It was her engagement ring from my father. She used to take her rings off in the evening and set them on the arm of an expensive chair they had purchased for the house. One night the ring fell down into the chair. They tried to get it out but had no luck retrieving it. They didn’t want to tear the chair apart, so they decided to look later. Over the years our family has experienced many unsuccessful attempts in locating the ring.
We moved in 1985 to a different house about five hours north. In the move, we discovered that the bottom of the chair had been torn. This made us lose all hope that we would ever find the ring. My parents moved again across the country twenty years later – still no ring. I remember different times over the years we had searched for the ring in the chair. It was almost like a legend – that maybe one day a diamond ring might appear from a chair that was getting worn out and old. Perhaps a complete destruction of the chair would produce a diamond – or something like that. I think sometimes you just hold on to a false reality because hope is powerful and you desperately need to hope in something.
Four years ago, when my father passed away, my mother decided to sell the house. A yard sale weekend commanded one last examination of the old chair. So my sister and my wife decided to completely tear the chair apart, even if it meant separating every piece of the chair. They tore and they busted and they ripped…and with a final rip an object flew from the chair across the room. It was my mother’s engagement ring that my father had given to her many years ago. It was the reappearance of the legend!
My mother said at that time that the immediate reaction of my wife and sister would be likened to that of two 13-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. From a Biblical standpoint, it reminded me of what Jesus said about the reaction of the finder of the lost coin and the lost sheep, or the treasure hidden in the field, or the pearl of great price. Jubilation!
One thing is certain. It is important in life for us to keep looking. If you have a dream, realize it. If you have a goal, reach it. If you have spiritual potential – fulfill it. If you have anything out there that is going to continue to make you work – then go and get it! This is God’s will for us. This is hope. This is living. This is Christ in us.
We sold the chair in the yard sale – price: $5.00.
“Hey, Dad, you’ll never guess what we found…”
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8
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“I Just Can’t Face Anybody”

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The words above are among the saddest that I hear. They are usually spoken by somebody who is hurting terribly. Often the pain they are experiencing has affected them in so many ways.

All too often, I hear these words as a part of an explanation concerning the person’s absence from worship services, Bible classes, and other opportunities to learn, worship, and enjoy fellowship. They feel as though they cannot do those things because they just can’t face anybody because of what is going on in their lives.

Every time I hear those words, I realize that something is wrong besides the pain that is being experienced and expressed. I realize that somebody needs to learn a little more about how brothers and sisters are to relate to and with one another. 

As Christians, we wear the name of the One who was sought out by individuals who were hurting. It is also important to observe that He sought out individuals like this. To be sure, some of the pain might have been self-inflicted, but that was not an insurmountable barrier for Him or for them. 

Our brothers and sisters in the first century drew strength and support from one another during times of trouble and weakness. They, and we, are instructed to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Those who were and are “…strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak… (Rom. 15:1).

Those who cannot bring themselves to face a group of people may be thinking that they are avoiding such things as unjust criticism, gossip, prying for information, and/or pity. Do they think they would experience these things with brothers and sisters in the Lord? 

Are they right? 

If they are, they are not the only ones who need a better understanding and application of God’s Word.

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Thinking Caps

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You may remember your teacher saying something like this to you in school, “Okay, class, it is time for you to put your thinking caps on!” This might have meant you were about to receive a lesson, take a test, or consider something very important. Though it seems almost silly to state something so obvious, thinking is not overrated. It is essential to success in every aspect of life.

In the August 1981 issue of Reader’s Digest one story told of a time when Henry Ford hired an efficiency expert to evaluate his company. After a few weeks, the expert made his report, which was highly favorable except for one thing. “It’s that man down the hall,” said the expert. “Every time I go by his office he’s just sitting there with his feet on his desk. He’s wasting your money.” “That man,” replied Mr. Ford, “once had an idea that saved us millions of dollars. At the time, I believe his feet were planted right where they are now.

Imagine being paid just to think! Maybe if we were paid to do it we would do it more often! The fact is, we are rewarded with so much more than monetary blessings if we will let the mind of the Master be the master of our minds. Consider a few of the things that taking time to think will accomplish:

  • avoiding rash decisions
  • avoiding speaking when better to remain silent
  • better communication
  • real, sound, beneficial solutions to problems
  • avoiding temptations
  • knowledge, wisdom, and understanding
  • better choices

God’s advice to Joshua in leading Israel was to THINK – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8). It is not only important that we think, but it is just as important to choose the right subject. The only true help for those who are looking for it is going to be found in the Word of God.

The key to good thinking is found in the word “meditate.” Meditation is time spent in the action of thinking. It is dedication coupled with a willing mind for understanding. Meditation is not putting on your thinking cap, but rather, realizing that you are never supposed to take it off. We all need to be wearing our thinking caps all of the time! What a shame that anyone would ever have to encourage us to put it on!

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
~ Psalm 1:2
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Episode 61 : 5 Foundational Financial Principles for Families (with Westley Hazel) [Podcast]

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Following up on our last podcast discussion about family finances, Adam is joined by Wes Hazel to discuss five foundational principles every family needs to keep constantly in mind in order to be pleasing to God and wise in this area of life.


The Five Foundational Principles

  1. God is the One Who gave what we have to us.
  2. We need to honor God in our giving.
  3. We need to be generous to others, and willing to share.
  4. Avoid debt (like the plague!).
  5. Live on less than you make.

Resources and Links

Beyond the Tithe [Amazon]

Forrest Park Church of Christ (Valdosta, GA)

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Why Our Whole Family is Looking Forward to Polishing the Pulpit 2016 [Video]

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Tomorrow, our little family of four will be headed to the Smokey Mountains for Polishing the Pulpit 2016, where we will be joined by about 4000 other Christians for a week of Bible study.

Polishing the Pulpit has something for everyone so, in this video, our whole family shares what we are looking forward to. We hope you enjoy, and we hope to see you there!

Episode 60: Our Ups and Downs of Budgeting [Podcast]

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After a few weeks away, we are back with a new season of our podcast, which will be released every other Friday through the end of the year.

On this episode, Adam and Leah sit down to talk about budgeting in general. They share some of the things they do well with a family budget, but also some things they need to improve on.

We hope this episode encourages you to look at your family’s finances and take control of them, all for the glory of God.



EveryDollar [Free online budgeting software]

Dave Ramsey [homepage]

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Training. Equipping. Arming. Aiming.

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Training. Equipping. Arming. Aiming.

These are words that come to my mind as I think about my children – both my own 3 precious children and those whose time and moldable minds are entrusted to me at different times during the week. In particular, this concept came to mind this week after our Sunday afternoon Bible Bowl practice.

This year, the organizers of the annual Bible Bowl held in Cookeville chose the Old Testament book of Leviticus for us to study. They limited the chapters we are studying to make it age appropriate for even our youngest “bowlers” but there is still a lot of meat (pun intended) in this book. Some of you may be wondering how I link a book full of OT law and directives to equipping our modern-day children.

In my group, made up of 6th- to 8th-grade girls, we are trying to study Leviticus in the framework of God’s whole plan. We are putting it back into the context of the purpose of the old law and the concepts we can see repeated throughout the Bible, even in application to us as New Testament Christians.

Somehow this Sunday, our attempt to “rightly divide the word” led us all the way back to Genesis and a discussion of world history. I wanted the girls to see that they don’t have to learn world history at school and think it is separate from what God gave us in the Bible. Genesis 4 is where you link to the Bronze Age and the invention of musical instruments. They need to see the Bible as factual and relevant to the things they learn in school. They need to be equipped to respectfully discuss with teachers a Biblical worldview. Believe it or not, there are some Christian teachers out there hoping their students will mention these things because once a student brings it up, the teacher can discuss it!

I was so thankful Sunday when one of my young ladies said something to the effect of “Hey, I read about that in that magazine from the church lobby!” You see, our elders provide equipment for our young people and her parents made sure she was using that equipment. My girls (and I) may miss the questions at Bible Bowl about which body part is to be washed before burned, but I hope we will always remember concepts like reverence for God, preparing to worship, God’s plan to save mankind, and how He has always given us exactly what we need.

For this week, I encourage you (and me) to spend some time thinking about the following verses and how we can train, equip, arm, and aim our children toward heaven:

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Ephesians 4:12 “…equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Psalm 127:4 “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.”

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4 Mistakes Husbands Keep Making

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Marriage is not easy. No matter how compatible two people might be, and no matter how much they love each other and are good to each other, marriage is going to initiate challenges that will test the very hearts of the two people who are involved. Having been married for over 18 years and having counseled marriages for about the same amount of time, I can tell you that the struggles in marriage are pretty much the same struggles everywhere. It boils down to the differences between men and women, and how they act and what they individually need. With that being said, and with the realization that I often fail in all of these areas, here are some mistakes we as husbands continually make:
1. Husbands are not as kind to their wives as they should be. It is in little remarks. It is in their body language. Unfortunately for some men, it is temper tantrums and foul language. But in any event, women respond better to tenderness and considerate modes of communication. When a woman feels beaten down she is going to shrivel up. She is not going to respond with affection. 1 Peter 3:7 instructs – “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife…” The word “honor” in this passages literally means “understanding the value” of the wife. When we recognize the value of something we treat it with care and protect it. Husbands need to treat their wives better. If they don’t they should not be surprised when she doesn’t want to be intimate.
2. Husbands are not doing the little things enough. Flowers bought to make up for a blunder are not as effective as a card written on a Tuesday afternoon and left on your wife’s car for no reason at all except to praise her or tell her what she means to you. Major purchases and attempts to quickly fix things that have been broken in the relationship for years are not things that will resonate with her as much as you think. There is no quick fix when trust has been lost, or when feelings have been hurt, or when you have patterned bad behavior. But the little things every day are what she needs in order to feel close to you. Getting up to wash the dishes after supper, putting all your clothes away that she has washed and dried and folded, and taking care of her vehicle’s maintenance before she ever knew it was even time are the little things that make her feel like you are what she can’t do without.
3. Husbands are rarely, if at all, romantic. It is amazing how much more romantic boyfriends are than husbands. What a shame! Especially since husbands have rights and boyfriends have none! When you dated you opened doors and planned events that surrounded her favorite things. You daydreamed about her and you texted her all day and told her how much you missed her. You anticipated the very next time you would see her or hear her voice. Stop taking her for granted. Try to win her heart every day. “When you dated” is saying enough in itself. You should never stop courting her. She is the woman you forsook all others for. This means she is special. If she doesn’t make your heart skip a beat then there is something wrong with your heart. Romance is often felt in husbands but it is simply not expressed. If you think she doesn’t need to be told she is pretty, or that you love her, or that you are thankful for her, you are dead wrong. Just because she has heard those things before doesn’t mean she no longer needs to hear them. Chances are that because she hasn’t heard them very often she simply doesn’t feel them anymore.
4. Husbands are not leading spiritually. God gave men the responsibility to lead their families in the Lord. They may work hard and pay the bills. They may be at all the ball games for the kids. They may provide and protect in many areas. But husbands who have no walk with the Lord are not capable of the kind of leadership a family requires. Even if they had no spiritual examples growing up, husbands still need to seek out a relationship with God for themselves and their family. We cannot blame the present and the future on the past. And there is nothing more calming or attractive to a Christian woman than a man who is personally close to God. Prayers should be the norm. He should be a man who studies the Bible for principles by which he will guide the wife and children. When a wife sees a man pray, cry, or be vulnerable to the point that He shows a need for God and for his companion, she will quickly respond to his side and her heart will be involved.
So husbands, there it is. This is not rocket science. Treat her better. Do the little things. Court her hard. And lead her in the Lord. These are not difficult tasks for a man who loves his wife. They are honors and pleasures.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” – Ephesians 5:25

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Leah’s Easy Eggplant Parmesan

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In our garden this summer, for the first time, we have grown eggplant. I had eaten eggplant before coated in cornmeal and fried like summer squash, but today I wanted to share with you an easy way to make something different: Eggplant Parmesan. This is a very easy and healthy meal!

The first thing I do is mix up an Italian tomato sauce. It is really easy, and I don’t even have real measurements for this, so just fix it to your personal taste. For mine, I use one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce. Then I add garlic powder, onion powder, basil, salt, pepper, and just a little sugar. To be honest, I just add the spices until I like the way it tastes!

The next thing I do is prepare the eggplant slices. First, go ahead and beat one or two eggs in a shallow bowl. Then, mix bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese in another bowl. Next, slice your eggplant. I didn’t even peel mine the first time I made this, but I think you’re supposed to. 

Then, dip the slices of eggplant into the egg and then coat the slices with the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese mixture. Now you are ready to fry them. I cook mine in an iron skillet with vegetable oil (that has been heated up). Let them cook for about two minutes on each side. [Note: You must cook eggplant through. It cannot be eaten raw!]

To serve, I put the eggplant slices on angel hair pasta. Then, I spoon the Italian tomato sauce over that. Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top.

Serve this with a green salad and some garlic bread, and you have a yummy meal.

[Quote] The Top Priority in Your Home

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