Category Archives: Family

3 Fun Bible Time Ideas for Families

We readily admit we are not perfect about having a family Bible time each and every night, but it is a highlight of most evenings in our home.

For many families, the problem is getting started. The good thing is that you don’t have to do the same thing each night. You can vary it, and if something doesn’t work for your family, you can move on to something else.

So, in this post, I want to share with you three things we have done (or still do) that are fun and that a family can do together.

IDEA #1: Bible Charades

I will admit, we haven’t done this one often, but it is something we did more when the kids were smaller. The idea is quite simple: just let your kids act out their favorite Bible person or Biblical account and guess. This works well when a Bible school curriculum at the congregation is comprehensive, because your children know a lot of people in the Bible, instead of just one or two.

(Of course, you can do similar games with drawing or other artistic ways of depicting these things.)

IDEA #2: Bible Outburst

This one isn’t free, but it is so fun. In fact, our family played another round just this week (which is where I got the idea for this article this week)!

If you are familiar with the board game “Outburst!” then you know about this game. It is the same rules (trying to guess a list of facts), but all pertaining to the Bible. Several Christian bookstores carry this game, and you can also find it on Amazon here. We love this game for a simple Bible time night, but one where we laugh and learn together.

IDEA #3: Sing

I can’t stress this one enough. It’s just you and your family, so who cares if all the notes are right? Just get out a songbook, or just sing some favorites from church from memory. Without really meaning to, this has become our Saturday evening routine for Bible time, as we typically sing five or six songs together, and try to mix both old and new hymns.

This is fun because everyone can pick out a favorite or two and there is also the fun of trying to learn new songs together, or of teaching old family favorites to your kids.

So, there you go. Three ideas. Which will you use, even this evening?

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

What Place Do Sports Have in the Life of a Christian?

Sports dominate our world. So much so that now they are even used to shape politics and moral and religious thinking. Recent demonstrations by athletes only remind us what a big role athletics play in our lives. It’s not that athletes are supposed to be our cultural heroes – it’s just that they have such a huge forum in which to be heard. And as with any advantage that human beings experience in life – the sporting arena has now become an agent by which society is influenced.

I grew up eating, drinking, and living sports. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. All I wanted was a ball since I was old enough to hold one. We lived next to the baseball park. It was literally on the other side of the chain link fence from my house. I became a player. I became a fan. By the time I was 3 or 4 until my teenage years – sports dominated my mind.

It is my contention that we put too much emphasis on athletics. They are, to many, a god. People become so passionate about their teams that they will drop thousands of dollars on one game. They will beat each other up on social media and they will beat each other up physically in the stands. We have all seen those videos where somebody punches somebody else at a ball game. I remember several years ago attending a late September, playoff-run baseball game in St. Louis between the Cardinals and Cubs in which the game was won in the ninth inning on a dramatic home run. I was with my wife and young son and I was wondering if we were going to get back to our car alive.

This article is not about how the general public should negotiate sports – I know that the world is so dominated by sports that for many, it’s what rules them. I don’t expect for the drunken fan to disappear and I don’t expect ticket prices or player’s salaries to decrease any time soon – because the world loves its sports. We are the 21st-century version of the Roman Coliseum. The world is in it for the long haul! The chariot races will continue! But for a Christian – what place can sports play in our lives? Or better yet – when does our love for sports become too great?

1. Sports must not allow us to lose our influence for Christ.

When we allow our passion for our team to change our attitude for the opponent and, through this, we act like a son of the devil, it’s time to repent. This may be that escalated conversation on a Facebook wall. It may be the way a parent treats a coach or umpire. It may be how our behavior towards our family changes inside our home for a 24-hour period when our team just lost the big game – and we haven’t gotten over it yet. We need to remember – IT IS JUST A GAME! In the scope of eternity is never going to matter what team won or lost any game in any particular year.

2. Sports must not allow us to lose our priorities.

When you are good with missing worship for a sporting event on a weekend, you’ve put that event before the only assembly that deserves your absolute respect and worship. Christian parents should plan a way for their athletic, travel-ball family to worship the Lord on the first day of the week. Christian adults who participate in events that sometimes take place on Sunday need to remember to honor and worship the Lord on that day. You have 24 hours. The top priority in that time frame should be your personal reflection on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

3. Sports must not allow us to lose our children.

You can attend every ball game your kids play. You can travel all over the country with them in their athletic pursuits. You can help them receive scholarships through athletic endeavors and thus avail them to a better education and a better standard of living. But if your kids leave the church it won’t be worth it. Sports need to be taught as beneficial but not essential. We can learn so much about life through playing sports. But the things we need to learn to make it to heaven can only be found in God’s word.

So remember – in a sense, it is about winning and losing. Don’t lose your faculties. Don’t lose your focus. Don’t lose your family. By all means, run to win! Just don’t forget to seek the crown that endures.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

Episode 91: When Church is the Hardest Places to Go, and Combining Education and Fun on Family Outings [Podcast]

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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah share a short article about going to worship when it is the hardest thing to do, and then spend time talking about the importance of families taking educational outings together.



When Church is the Hardest Place to Go” (My Heart, His Words)


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Mothers and Daughters

My son-in-law called me a few months ago and asked me if I could help him out with something. He had booked a flight and a hotel room for Amber and himself at Pensacola Beach for the first few days of October. It was his birthday gift to her (which he has done for the last several years). They go and enjoy some relaxation on the beach and enjoy the beauty of the ocean and some of their favorite restaurants.

He had, however, failed to check his calendar before he booked this trip. When he did check it, he was booked for a gospel meeting for those same days. So, he called me and asked if I could help him out by taking his place on the trip with Amber. I thought about it for a nanosecond and said, “YES!” Luckily when I checked my calendar after agreeing to go, I had those days free.

We took that trip last week, and there aren’t enough words to tell you how much I enjoyed having that time with my daughter. As I was packing for the trip, I began trying to remember the last time we had been able to spend some time together – just the two of us – and really have time to talk and laugh and enjoy each other’s company. It had been way too long!

I thought about some important things about this mother/daughter relationship that I hope will help those who may be reading this – young or older.

  • She is my best girl friend and I am hers – at this point in time. It has been that way for lots of years. However, it was not that way when she was growing up. We had a warm and loving relationship, but I was not her best friend – I was her parent, her mother. I was teaching and training and disciplining her so she would be prepared for her role as a wife and mother. She had lots of friends, but at that point in time she needed a mother, not another friend.
  • Communication is so vitally important in the mother/daughter relationship. It is important in any relationship, but in this particular case who can explain womanhood to a girl better than her mother? Open lines of communication help your children know that they always have someone they can turn to, even if the topic of conversation is going to be hard to handle. If you are texting, or scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, and your child wants to talk to you…(please hear me on this) PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE AND LISTEN EYEBALL TO EYEBALL TO YOUR CHILD! Girls need to feel free to talk to their mothers. The daughter who can talk to you when she is young and knows that you will take time to really listen, will still be talking to you and asking for your advice when she is older.
  • Time goes by way too quickly. I know some young mothers right now who are so busy taking care of little ones and it may seem to them like they will always be there with you needing help. Trust me, the day will come when they will be out on their own – and it comes all too soon. Cherish the time you have now. Use it to wisely establish a relationship with your child that will never be severed.
  • The Bible doesn’t give us very many examples of mother/daughter relationships, and some of the examples are not very pleasant to read about. Just one example of this is Herodias and her daughter who was prompted by her mother to dance before men and ask for the head of John the Baptist. (Matt. 14)

However, we do read of other mother/daughter relationships: Jochebed and Miriam (the mother and sister of Moses) who worked together to save the life of baby Moses, Naomi and Ruth (a mother and daughter-in-law) who stuck together through some very difficult times, and then we read about the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. When the scriptures tell us that “her children rise up and called her blessed,” I feel sure that she was blessed with sons and daughters. She displays the type of training for her children that would lead to a lasting relationship with them.

I loved my time with my daughter – my friend. We didn’t do anything special other than just spend time talking about all sorts of things – some serious and some not so serious. We enjoyed each other’s company and made a pact to try and do more of this very thing. We are both busy women, but we will be looking for more opportunities to be together. 

I’m praying that you mothers who read this (and you fathers with sons) will realize that time spent with your children, whether while they are young or when they are grown, is one of life’s greatest blessings. Fit it into your busy schedule and enjoy some quality time. 

Thank you, Jeremiah, for this wonderful time with my daughter.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  Psalm 127:3

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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

A Five-Straw Salute

As the son and son-in-law of men who served in one of the branches of our nation’s armed forces, I remember well the twenty-one-gun salute that took place at the committal service for each of them. As a preacher, I have been with countless families as one of their loved ones is laid to rest in this manner. 

That salute and the playing of “Taps” that follows is a very emotional time. I cannot remember a time when tears were not shed because a very special person was remembered in a very special way.

I did not serve in the military.  Although I was at the “prime age” to be involved in the “conflict” in Vietnam, the military decided that they did not want a guy who had torn a knee up in a high school football game.

I was thinking the other day about an appropriate “salute” when it comes time for my graveside service. I think I have an idea.

You see, I’ve taught each of our five grandchildren the fine art of tearing the end off of the paper or plastic that restaurants normally use to put straws in. Once the end is torn off, you can merely remove the rest of the paper or plastic and use the straw. That’s the way boring people do it. 

The grandkids and I have our own way of doing this. It is a lot more fun. You can put the exposed straw into your mouth and “shoot” the remaining paper off. It is even more fun if you can hit an unsuspecting target (hopefully at your own table). 

Grammy may roll her eyes and parents may shake their heads, but Grampy and the grandkids get a kick out of this. At least most of the grandkids do. I think that our sixteen-year-old may be getting a little too “sophisticated” for this, but he’ll get over that someday.

I can see it now! After all of the right words have been said at the cemetery, the straws come out and Grampy gets a five-straw salute! Maybe, instead of tears, Grampy will make the grandkids smile one more time. 

It may not seem like it, but I am actually discussing something serious here. I never really knew my grandparents. Three of them had already passed from this life before I was born and I only saw my maternal grandfather a few times. He passed away when I was very young.

I have no memories of any of my grandparents. I don’t what they sounded like. I don’t what kind of (if any) sense of humor they had. I don’t know what their likes and dislikes were. I don’t know what is like to remember stories told by a grandparent. I’m not even sure where two of them are buried.

The Lord has allowed me to spend time with my grandchildren and to establish a relationship with them. Nobody knows how special that is to me. Nobody knows how much I wish I could spend more time with each of them. Nobody knows how often I think of them and pray for them.

Both of our children and their families live some distance from us. It takes some effort to be able to spend time together. I value any time we can work all of that out.

Those times are not merely a time for fun and foolishness. The fun and foolishness are just a part of a much bigger picture. Those times, along with the serious times, the sad times, and many other types of times are important opportunities. They are opportunities to do what my mother-in-law used to say we were doing when she was with us and our children. I can still hear “Grandma Ruthie” saying, “We’re making memories, aren’t we?”

That statement sums up a lot of what I think families are all about. Families make memories. Families establish legacies and carry them on. 

You and your family have your own traditions. You have your own “inside jokes.” You may even have your own weird uncle or goofy Grampy. Your family may not shoot straws in a restaurant, but you do something that people who are not a part of your family do not understand and can never really be a part of.

Your family (like mine) is unique. There is not another family anywhere exactly like yours. 

Do what you can to let each member know how special he or she is to you. There aren’t many investments you can make that would be better than to invest time making memories with your family. 

Who knows? You may be repaid with your own special salute someday!

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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

Do Your Part

Today, I want to offer a word of encouragement for those who sometimes feel as if they aren’t doing enough for the Lord. It might be that their health no longer allows them to do what they used to do. It could be a young mother who admires the older ladies of her congregation and yet feels guilt that she can’t do as much. Please read the following and know that whatever the task God has given you to do, it is the right one.

I asked the Lord, “What shall I do?”
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then He pointed me out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”

I quickly replied, “Oh no, not that.
“Why no one would ever see.
“No matter how well my work was done;
“Not that little place for me.”

The word He spoke, It was not stern,
He answered me tenderly;
“Ah, little one, search that heart of thine.
“Are you working for them or me?
“Nazareth was a little place, and so was Galilee.”

~ unknown

1 Corinthians 12:4-7:

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit
for the common good.”

Do your part!

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AUTHOR: Amber Tatum

Why Is There Such Evil in the World?

The tragedy in Las Vegas this weekend has once again reminded us of the state of our world. So much evil exists, and so much innocent loss of life happens for no reason. One thing that I see people doing with every new difficult episode – is this continuous attempt to be able to wrap their minds around why all of these things are happening.

Why is our country so divided? Why so much hatred and strife? Why all the mass shootings across the globe? Why the constant threats of war and terror? Why does God allow for the world to continue with all that is going on?

I want to tell you that there is no easy answer. We can’t blame anyone or any movement in particular. Taking sides morally, religiously, or politically is not going to provide you with the peace you are seeking. As long as we are in the world we are going to experience tribulation, and only through Jesus, who has overcome, can we overcome (John 16:33).

Evil exists because of what happened in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:17). Satan came with evil intentions and he deceived the human race. His deception brought sin and death to the universe (Rom. 6:23). There is never going to be a time as long as the earth remains where evil won’t dominate our world. John wrote, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). He simply was pointing out that God’s people are in the minority while Satan is deceiving and having success with the majority.

So why did this happen in Las Vegas? Why does anything evil in our world happen? We need to stop blaming a group or a cause or a sickness and we need to realize that the reason has everything to do with the devil and with us.

While it is difficult sometimes to understand how God allows for the pain and suffering, perhaps the words from Jeremiah best explain the reason why such evil persists. He was addressing a people who were supposed to belong to God but who had rejected Him and thus were met with the consequences of that choice – “Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!” (Jeremiah 4:18).

I see and hear people broken hearted about all of this evil and I feel what they feel. To be honest, all I care about right now is the state of the people who hurt. Natural disasters happen and people die. Politics and war occur and hatred persists and people are the collateral damage. Terror strikes and innocent individuals are murdered in senseless fashion. How should we respond? We begin by realizing it’s about the people who are hurting and not about the cause.

I think each person needs to stop and pray. Each person needs to repent and turn to God. Each person needs to forgive the ones who cause them pain and not retaliate. Each person needs to love God more and the human race more. Each person needs to have compassion for and assist those who are hurting. Each person needs to follow the higher will and rule of the Creator rather than their own selfish, mistaken, human will.

I believe we are all very tired. We are just so very tired of waking up in a world of hatred and evil and sin and death. So if we do wake up tomorrow, let’s decide that we are going to be a part of the solution. Let’s love each other. Let’s share our possessions and gifts and accept one another and seek to work on ourselves. Let’s find a place in our heart to be kind in the midst of all of the hate.

If we don’t wake up tomorrow, let us live in such a way today that heaven will most surely be on the horizon. Our hope is not here. Our hope is in the One who came to deliver us from the world of sin and death. All of this evil reminds us that this world is NOT our home because Jesus is preparing something that is far better. And we anticipate His return with joy exceeding and full of glory.

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” – Revelation 22:20

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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

“What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate”

Those of us of a certain age may remember that line from the movie Cool Hand Luke. I’m wondering, though, if it is not more than a memorable line from a movie. I’m wondering if a failure to communicate may be at the heart of many of the marital (and family) problems today.

A few years ago, I wrote a book about families entitled God Give Us Christian Homes. I chose the line from the movie as the title of this post as the title of one of the chapters in the book. 

One part of that chapter dealt with what I consider to be some barriers and/or roadblocks as we try to communicate with one another. What follows below is a sort of CliffsNotes version of that part of the chapter. Each of these is fleshed out more in the book, but, perhaps, this will give you an idea about what I see as some real problems in communication. Along with that, I’ve included from that chapter some suggestions I made that might help us to communicate better.

The barriers and/or roadblocks I wrote about were:


A real barrier to communication is erected when one person thinks he or she knows what the other person is thinking, what they are going to say before it is ever said, and/or their emotions. It is hard to tell somebody something when they’ve already decided for themselves what you have to say and have, in fact, already begun to work on a response.


The woman that Jesus met at the well in Samaria was a great dodgeball player. As you read the account of the conversation that Jesus had with her, it is easy to observe all of the efforts she made to change the subject and, in fact, to try to put Jesus on the defensive (cf. John 4).

Dodgeball is still being played and it is not confined to grade school physical education classes. Husbands, wives, parents, children, and all members of any family often try this tactic to keep from really engaging in conversation. 


You may have heard about the fellow who was complaining about his wife becoming historical every time there was a disagreement. His friend tried to correct him by saying, “Don’t you mean hysterical?” “No,” the man replied, “I mean historical. She brings up everything I’ve ever done wrong in the past!”

Communication will never be what it can be when one or more of the parties involved insist on being “historical.” The situation at the time is what needs to be dealt with. 


Most of us, especially in family situations, know what issues, words, and/or ideas to avoid. How many conversations have been destroyed because somebody refused to resist the temptation to light the fuse on a firecracker we know will go off?

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt…”  (Col. 4:6). This admonition leaves little room for something that we know will ignite a situation.


Sonny and Cher weren’t the only ones to use those words.  At least, they weren’t the only ones to have that idea. 

The blame game has destroyed many conversations and relationships and needs to be avoided.  This game has been around for a long time, hasn’t it?  In the garden, Adam blamed Eve (and God) and Eve blamed the serpent. 


The suggestions I presented that, hopefully, will help families to communicate better were:


Now that you know that I am a real math expert, let me explain what I mean by that. The thought is certainly not original with me that God gave us two ears and one mouth. Maybe He was trying to tell us something.

Far too many people think they are communicating only when they are talking. This is far from the truth. Good communication will involve listening as well; maybe a lot more listening than talking.

Repeatedly, during His earthly ministry, Jesus told the Jews, “You say…” (cf. Matt. 15:5, 16:2, etc.). To be sure, He was usually in the process of correcting some of their misunderstandings or misinterpretation of scripture. At the same time, though, He let them know He had been listening to what they had been saying.


In some meetings where votes are taken, the ayes have it. In communication, often the eyes have it.

Those who are experts in the field of communication inform us that we listen as much with our eyes as we do with our ears. Whether it is family members or others we are talking about, we need to look at them when they are speaking to us and when we are speaking to them.


“Let me be brutally honest.”   

That sentence usually precedes something that is very unpleasant. Hurt feelings, broken hearts, and/or broken relationships have been some of the results of somebody being “brutally honest.”

The Bible informs us that we are to be about “…speaking the truth in love…” (Eph. 4:15, emphasis added). How we say something can have as great an impact as what we say. 


Modern families eat on the run and often eat separately. If, on a rare evening, all of the family members find themselves at home, they might be found eating while watching television or fiddling with some electronic device.

There is a real need in our society to use the dinner table for something other than a nice piece of furniture to be admired. There is a need for the family to sit as a unit around the table with no distractions and share their days and their lives.

Some of the best memories I have of the house in which I was reared and, then later, of the houses in which our children were reared involve eating together. The food was always good, but one can get at least a decent meal at a lot of places.

What is memorable and now missed is that our children are no longer at home and my parents have passed away is the time we had as a family to share more than a meal. We got to share in each other’s lives.


So; there you have it. At least you have some of what I suggested in that chapter. Maybe you have some things you would add to these ideas.

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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

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Episode 90: No Excuses! Spiritual Outings, and More! [Podcast]

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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah discuss how we need to avoid excuses in following God’s commands, how we should take our family on spiritual outings, and several things going on in our lives. We hope you enjoy the program and check out the links below.


There are No Excuses” (Perspectives of a Bondservant)

Training Kids to Love God’s Word” (Come Fill Your Cup)

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With One Voice

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14)

In high school, my favorite English teacher was Mrs. Dowdy. She has some pretty good stories she could tell you about my class, including one concerning a viewing of Romeo and Juliet our freshman year. I was blessed to have her again for College Prep English my senior year, and several assignments from that year made a lasting impression on me. There is one that I remember because of my failure.

We were to pick a single word and write a paper detailing that word’s history and usage, including if it was used in the Bible. Being the very clever and creative teenager that I was, I tried to pick an original word that no one else would even consider. My word was “harmony.” While I don’t recall the exact wording, I may never forget Mrs. Dowdy’s ingenious review of my paper, referencing its ironic lack of harmony.

Harmony is precious to me. Few things bring me more deep-seated joy than a well-rounded, full chord of beautiful music, particularly vocal music. From the deepest bass to the highest soprano, the chord is only complete with all of the intervals in between represented.

Perhaps that is why a recent explanation of 2 Peter 1:5-7 was so satisfying to me. Many people refer to this as the “add to” passage. I have heard many discussions about whether these aspects of character are stepping stones, or maybe links in a chain, or even sequential qualities, reaching its fullness in love. None of those have ever “rung true” with me but a recent explanation did.

I know I am biased about the speaker and the source she revealed (my mom, who referenced my dad) but when she said this, 2 Peter 1:5-7 finally made the most sense to me. She said these qualities – faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love – are to harmonize together, much like the notes of a well-developed chord of music. I immediately got a picture of a skilled maestro gesturing to each section of the orchestra to swell and fill in the chord in perfect harmony. All are equally important and yet unique. Each fills the precise need of the whole in order for it to be at its best.

With that in mind, read the following words from Romans 15:5-6: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [emphasis added]

May we all live in harmony – with God, with each other, and with ourselves – to the glory of God.

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AUTHOR: Amber Tatum

Photo background credit: Southern Arkansas University on Creative Commons