Category Archives: Family


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My friend Sonnie passed from this life recently. I have been blessed with many friends as a minister’s wife, and they are like sisters to me because I never had any earthly sisters. Sonnie was not only my sister in Christ but also the closest (along with a few others) I have ever come to feeling like I had an earthly sister. She was a few years older than me, and I looked up to her like you would an older sister.

There were so many things that made her special and I would like to share a few of those things with you. They are attributes I believe would help all of us as we journey through this life.

  • She was fun. She almost always had a smile on her face and could lighten up any dark moment. She never worried about looking silly to others, but she would put on a funny hat and parade around at a ladies’ devo and fellowship if she thought it would bring a smile to some otherwise sad faces.
  • She was a hard worker. Anything she made up her mind to tackle would be done – and done well. If she wanted a goldfish pond in her back yard (which she did), she dug it and made it into a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy watching those fish. When the pantry, or a storage closet, or anything else needed cleaning in the annex at the church building, she would tackle it alone at a time when no one would know who had done the work. And it was done to perfection.
  • She was compassionate. Her father came to live with her in her little house when he became a widower for the second time. She referred to him as her “live-in man.” (I told you she was fun). She would hurry on to tell those who didn’t know her that she was blessed to have her “daddy” living with her. She treated him like a king. She took the upstairs bedroom and gave him the one downstairs. She talked about what a blessing that was to her because at night in her little upstairs room, which was above his, she could hear her father praying by name for each one of his grown children.

She treated all of her neighbors well, often taking food to them and helping them with problems they may have had. Many of our older ladies looked forward to a visit from Sonnie because she cared so deeply for them and brought her happy disposition to them when she visited or cared for them.

  • She was a planner. She could organize and carry out tasks in her family or at church like no one I have ever seen. She “headed up“ things like Ladies’ Day, Ladies’ Devo and Fellowship, refreshments for our annual Singing, and many other activities. When her brothers and sisters would come to visit – you guessed it – they gathered at her little home. Every activity she undertook was planned well and carried out to perfection.
  • She loved frogs. She collected frogs of any type. She wore clothes that had frogs on them. She had frog jewelry of every type. She signed any announcement she had put in the bulletin with these letters — F.R.O.G. – and added a small picture of a frog. She had frogs sitting on her porch and frog wind chimes hanging around her porch. These were all reminders to her and to those of us who knew her to Fully Rely On God. She did. She taught us often that frogs only move forward, and never backward. What a needed reminder for every Christian facing a struggle!
  • She was a faithful Christian. Some of the last words I heard her say following her relatively short illness were, “I’ve had a good life. I’m ready to go home.” She had “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7) I could depend on her to always be doing what was right. I could depend on her to be at every service of the church and every activity she could. I could depend on her because I knew she depended on God.

Her memorial service was held last week and many people attended: family, members at Central, members from other congregations, friends from her years in high school, neighbors, co-workers, etc.  Many tears were shed.  Much laughter was heard. Some of her favorite gospel songs were sung. A niece told of the things she had taught her, and Jim spoke about her great qualities and how happy she would be if each person there would make sure they are in a right relationship with God. The theme for the evening was her theme for life – F.R.O.G. – Fully Rely On God. 

Help me, Father, to follow her example.

“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which translated means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.”  Acts 9:36

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Studying Matthew with Your Children [Free Printable]

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Need a resource to help with your family Bible study? Then today’s post is for you!

At the 2016 Lads to Leaders convention, the book to study for the Bible Bowl event was Matthew. Knowing that, we decided to study that book in our Family Bible Time at night. Matthew is a fairly lengthy book (28 chapters), so to help our kids study, we made little worksheets for each of the chapters.

Today, we are pleased to share them with you…for free!

For each of the chapters, there are four things on the worksheet:

1. A box with the two or three major events or stories found in that chapter,

2. Fill in the black or short-answer questions straight from the text (based on the New King James Version),

3. A handful of discussion questions (meanings of words, “how would you feel,” etc.), and

4. A memory verse or two from that chapter.

If you click on the picture below, you will be redirected to a page with the document in pdf format. It is 55 pages in length, and you are welcome to print it out and use it for Bible school, homeschool, family Bible time, or any other purpose you would like.

All we ask in return is this: if you take the time to download or print the pdf, would you please share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest? That way, others can find out about this resource as well. Thank you!

We hope this resource helps you. I’m sure you’ll find a typo or two, but we pray this is something that will help your family learn this wonderful book that opens our New Testament.

To view or download, click on the following image.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

I Believe He’d Go for You

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He was a good husband. He loved his wife. He was loyal to her and provided for her. He was not only a good husband; he was a good man. 

However, he was not a Christian. He made sure that his wife got to church regularly, but he had no interest in attending with her.

A son was born. The father shared his name with his son. He shared his entire name with his son, not merely the last name. From the time “junior” was born until the day that “senior” died, their relationship was, in the best sense of the term, a mutual admiration society. 

The father now made sure that both his wife and his namesake were able to attend worship services and Bible classes regularly. Still, he, himself, exhibited no desire to do so.

His wife had been sowing seeds all along the way. Her words and her actions demonstrated a love for him–and for his soul. Now, there was something else she could do. She could make sure that her husband “overheard” the discussions she and their son had about the Bible classes and sermons they heard. He didn’t act all that interested, but he couldn’t help “overhearing.” She made sure of that.

One day, when the son was still very young, his mother made a suggestion. She told her son of her inability to get his father to go to church. She then suggested that the son ask his father. She added these words:

“I believe he’d go for you.”

He did and he did! The son asked the father and the father did start going!

Sometime later, something else happened. Both the father and the son were baptized on the same day!

A good man became a good Christian man. 

Many of us who only got to know him during his later years knew of his work at a Christian youth camp; his “fill-in preaching” (for which he refused to accept any pay); his involvement in teaching people in jails and prisons about God and His Word; and for so many other things he did for the cause of Christ.

We (at least I) had no idea that he had not been brought up in a Christian environment and had, in earlier years, shown no interest in being a Christian. We had no idea that all of that changed because somebody for whom he cared deeply and who cared deeply about him asked him to start going to church. 

Who is that person in your life? Who is the next person who could be a valuable servant in the kingdom?

Could you at least ask him or her to attend church with you? Is that too much to ask?

I do not know who all of your closest relationships are. I do believe, though, that there is at least one person who cares enough about you to honor that simple request.

I believe he (or she) would go for you!

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The Flu!

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How does someone who works in a germ factory (AKA an elementary school) get sick on spring break when away from the germ makers? I’m not sure, but I managed to do so last week. The first part of the week saw me spending more than my fair share of quality time with both my bed and my recliner. While much of that time was spent sound asleep, I was awake enough to think about two things I thought worthy of consideration:

1. Don’t wish for things without carefully considering the possible ramifications. When caught in the whirlwind of our “normal” life, I sometimes find myself wishing for some down time at home to rest and relax with no responsibilities. While those things can come in the form of a vacation or retreat, even then you are responsible for certain things – feeding yourself and family, making sure clothes are ready to wear, et cetera. If you truly wish for no responsibilities, be careful. I truly had no responsibilities earlier this week (thanks to my loving husband!), but it was not a carefree time. I hurt! It’s not normal for healthy adults to have no concerns! God created us to be active and useful (Ephesians 2:10) so be careful in your wishing!

2. Consider the fruits of your days. As I was nearing the end of Day 4 with very little to show for my life, I realized I do not like that feeling! I am used to being able to give a fairly lengthy list of things that I have accomplished that day. My list for Saturday through Tuesday was very short. What made me sadder was the quality (or lack thereof) of my list instead of the quantity. How often do I blame my lack of prayer or Bible reading on a lack of time and yet, with 4 days of nothing but time, what fruits could I show? It has made me think about not just filling my days with activities, but making sure they are activities that really matter: time in God’s Word, talking to Him, and serving His children (Ephesians 5:16).

So, the flu is terrible, but, in my constant effort to find good even in the bad, it can teach you some lessons. After all, you are slowed down to where you have to pay attention!

Luke 12:35-40  “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning,  and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.  If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!  But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.  You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”


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A Tradition Unlike any Other

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There is no way of knowing how many times I’ve heard that phrase – a tradition unlike any other. I’ve heard it most of those times while watching the NCAA basketball tournament on television. For years, CBS has used that phrase to try to get their viewers to watch the next “big event” after that tournament concludes – The Masters golf tournament.

However, the tradition unlike any other I’m thinking about has nothing to do with golf. It has to do with a couple of guys watching the NCAA basketball tournament.

Somehow, while our son was still at home, the two of us got in the habit of spending some time together watching as much of the tournament as we could. We would stay up late on the Monday night of the championship game. We watched the game. We did not turn the television off as soon as the game was over. We waited for “One Shining Moment.” Finally, when it was over, we finally said, “Good night” and went to bed. 

Last Monday night the tradition continued in the “amended” fashion that has become the norm in more recent years. Since he lives away from his mother and me and has his own family, we now watch the game “together while apart.” I told somebody last Monday that I was going to stay up and watch a game that I really did not care much about. When I was asked why I would do that, I had a one-word answer: “Adam.”

To say that our son loves college basketball would be one of the great understatements of all time. I’ve kiddingly told people that he comes alive when the season starts and goes back into a shell as soon as “One Shining Moment” is over.

I like college basketball, too, but, at this point in my life, I like sleep a lot better. Since Kentucky was not in the game, the only reason I was up past my bedtime last Monday night was because of that “tradition unlike any other” – the tradition of watching that final game with my son.

As I watched in Kentucky, I knew he was watching in Alabama. We even texted once in a while (but not much) during the game. When the last strains of “One Shining Moment” faded, we talked to each other, shared a couple of thoughts about the game, told each other, “Good night,” and went to bed. It was just like old times – sort of. 

As I was lying in bed, I wondered how many more opportunities we will have to “share” this experience. I wondered if it means as much to him as it does to me

I wondered if it really is a tradition unlike any other? Could it be that other fathers and sons do exactly the same thing?

I don’t know the answer to all of those questions. I do know that it is a tradition unlike any other to me because it involves my son and me. 

As I thought about all of this, I also wondered how many young fathers take the time to create their own “traditions unlike any other” with their sons and daughters. I remember older people telling me when I was a young father how fleeting the years are when children are at home.

Now that I’m one of those older people, I can testify to the fact that they could not have been more correct. I’m not sure how good I was at, as my mother-in-law used to say, “making memories.”    

It is too late for me to have a do over as a parent. Whatever I did during the formative years of my children cannot be changed now. 

Hopefully, it is not too late for me to join the chorus of older people as we remind younger parents about the brevity and importance of those years when children are at home. For that reason, I would encourage parents of any age to do what they can while they can to establish —

a tradition unlike any other.

Someday, you may do what I’ve been doing as I have typed these words. You may smile through your tears and be glad that you’ve been involved in something on which neither time nor distance can have an impact.


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The Most Influential Woman in My Life

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Today is my mother’s birthday. In Proverbs 31:28 we are told of the children of an excellent woman growing up and calling their mother blessed. On my mother’s birthday, I want to honor her by giving you just a few of the reasons that I consider my mother the most influential woman in my life.

  1. My mom taught me that, in every circumstance, God must come first. We never missed any services of the church for ball games, school functions, practices, or anything else. We were always taught that even extra church activities were more important than anything else we had going on. Back then, that just meant missing practice and consequentially sitting on the bench during the next ball game. Today, that means that my desires and wants come after what God would have me do.
  2. My mom taught me that you should never be ashamed to be “just a wife and mother.” My mom was always a stay at home mom. She fully focused on my dad and us. She was never ashamed and never embarrassed. She was always there for everything we ever did. She was the stabilizer in our family. She was devoted to our family as a unit. Back then, that meant a mom who was there after school every day and a mom who was at every ballgame. Today, that means that I don’t feel unfulfilled just because I am “only” a wife and mother.
  3. My mom taught me that each family must live “within their means.” As I said earlier, my mom was always a stay at home mom. We always lived on one income – and not a huge one at that. We never had fancy cars. We usually didn’t receive as many gifts for birthdays and Christmas as our friends did. We hardly ever went out to eat. Mom always let us know that things didn’t make you happy. She also always reminded us that we were better off than most people. Back then, that just meant not having everything my friends had. Today, that means I am better able to accept that sometimes I need to “do without” to achieve a greater purpose.
  4. My mom showed me how to be selfless. She always was. She gave herself the burned toast. She gave up her chair. The other person–whether her child or a stranger–was more important than herself. Back then, that just meant me enjoying “unburned” toast. Today, that means when I am tired and want to think of myself, even without me realizing it, I’ll picture my mom. I remember the countless times she was tired and just kept on for the sake of someone other than herself.

I could keep on listing the ways. When I think about the innumerable ways my mother has molded me into the person that I am, it helps me see what an impact I will have on my daughter and how she will be very much like me.


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AUTHOR: Leah Faughn

Five Minutes with Bartimaeus

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And they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; He is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprand up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52)

It was only five minutes, but I won’t soon forget it.

We were rushing around the Opryland Hotel at Lads to Leaders. Bible Bowl was done and we had just a few minutes to go to our room, let the kids practice leading their songs, and freshen up a bit before heading out to song leading.

But as we walked by one of the giant ballrooms, I just knew we needed to pause for a minute or two. Call it a dad’s intuition. Call it luck. Call it whatever you like, but I just knew it was the right thing to do.

See, in that giant ballroom, there was another event going on. It is event named after the blind man of the story told above: Bartimaeus. A few years ago, Lads to Leaders made the very wise decision to offer an event for people of all ages who have special needs. They create art work. They lead singing. They give speeches. They read Scripture.

And it is as moving as anything you will ever see.

I felt like my kids needed to see it, so we veered right and headed into the ballroom, sitting near the door.

A young man was leading a song. I don’t remember what it was, but everyone was standing and following along.

Then, they announced the name of another young man. I would guess he was probably mid-teens, maybe even twenty. He wanted to lead “This Little Light of Mine.”

From his wheelchair.

And he could scarcely talk.

But his finger went in the air and he–for all intents and purposes–grunted his way through the song. He did “blow” when it was time to say, “Don’t let Satan [blow] it out; I’m gonna let it shine.”

I watched him. Then I watched my children.

They followed along as if the greatest song leader in the brotherhood were leading them. So did everyone else in the room, even though we were singing a “little kid” song, and could not understand our leader.

But that was just the thing. We could understand him. Oh, we might not have been able to pick out many specific words from that song, but we could understand his heart. His Christian light was shining, and I have no doubt in my mind that he is going to let his light shine all the time, and that he will not hide it under a bushel (no!).

We only stayed five minutes, but I honestly think those five minutes changed the whole tenor of our trip.

When we got back to the room, I asked our kids (ages 10 and, on that day, 9) why they thought we had done that. Why had we paused in the middle of a crazy busy day to sing “This Little Light of Mine” with someone we could not understand?

Their answers were innocent, but profound. They realized that it encouraged the leader to have people there to sing along. They knew it made them feel good to make him feel good.

Then, with tears literally streaming down my face, I hugged my kids up close and I told them they were right, but that there was more. I said something like this: “It’s because I wanted you to see what you have. I don’t care if you never win a trophy or medal for leading a song or giving a speech. I want you to thank God every day that you are able to do those things so easily. I know your daddy sure is thankful.”

With that, we all cried, and I think they got it.

Bartimaeus could never have known that his name would still be used 2000 years later as encouragement to some very special people. He just wanted to meet Jesus, and he overcame a great difficulty to do so.

2000 years later, some very special people overcame so much more than I have ever had to just to sing a song. But they taught a lesson in just five minutes that changed my family.

For every “Bartimaeus” out there, may God be praised.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

A Cure for the Polly Pitiful Syndrome

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A few of us are old enough and sophisticated enough remember that classic, very intellectual television show called “Hee-Haw.” For those who are not old enough to remember, “Hee-Haw” was neither class nor intellectual. One of the sets for the show was a corn field. That was most appropriate because the show was, indeed, very corny.

If you do remember that show, you probably remember the recurring skit during which the following lyrics were sung:

Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Deep, dark depression, excessive misery

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all

Gloom, despair, and agony on me.

How often do you sing that song? If you’ve never even heard that song, how often do you feel like you could sing it? How often do you play the role of Polly Pitiful?

I recently found a cure for the “Polly Pitiful Syndrome.” If we are talking only in terms of material blessings, I encourage you to see what you think about it.

While listening to a recording of one of brother Don Blackwell’s presentations at last year’s Polishing the Pulpit, he mentioned a website that I invite you to check out:

This website works in one of two ways. You can enter your personal “portfolio” and/or you can enter your yearly income. The website will then give you information about your economic well-being as it relates to the entire population of the world. 

Try it. You may be very pleasantly surprised. You may not feel like singing the song above as often as you might otherwise.

Of course, the Christian should be singing an entirely different song anyway.  Some of its lyrics are:

This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

As a Christian, it would be a wonderful idea to stop thinking about what I may or may not have of a material nature and have the attitude of a man who wrote these words while in a Roman prison:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3).


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For All Lads to Leaders Participants

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When a Church Family Struggles

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Of all the descriptions found in the New Testament for the church, I suppose my favorite is that of a family. That image is the one I include in sermons more often than any other, and I think it is the easiest picture to relate to on the local, congregational level.

The picture of the church as a family has many positive connotations. We think of times when we share memories. We think of laughing and crying together. We think of meals together and times when we just spend time together because we love each other deeply.

It’s Not All Positive

There is, however, another side of this image.

Families often struggle.

There is no family that is perfectly functional. We all, no matter how healthy our physical family might be, have some level of dysfunction somewhere. Obviously, there are some cases that are extreme, but every home has struggles.

And the same is true of the church. It is true of your local congregation.

No matter how vibrant and seemingly mature a congregation may happen to be, there are always struggles and squabbles that are going on. They are real. They hurt.

If we are not careful, they can also greatly tarnish the image of the church as a family.

Turning a Negative into a Positive

While there are going to be some negative times, a church that is willing to work through those struggles will come out stronger on the other side. Even in a strong physical family, there will be times of stress, arguing, and maybe even fighting (at least, to some level). It is made up of individuals who still struggle with selfishness and sin.

But when a family works through those issues in grace and love, it comes out stronger on the other side.

That is exactly what a church family must do, as well. It must work through its struggles and squabbles in grace and love, with Scripture always as the guide. When that congregation does, it comes out stronger on the other side.

Practically Speaking

What does working through these squabbles look like? Here are a few simple suggestions to help.

  1.  “Divorce” is off-limits. In our physical family, no matter how strained our lives might get, divorce is not an option. Too many Christians, when a congregation goes through a struggle, threaten to “divorce.” They threaten to leave. It’s convenient, and (seemingly) not as painful. But it is a tactic that it hurtful and based on selfishness. Do not bring this up over simple squabbles or differences in personality.
  2. Tackle One Issue at a Time. In conflict resolution, there is a term for bringing up everything in one argument, even if it not related to the issue at hand. It is “kitchen sink fighting” (because you bring up everything, including the kitchen sink). When a congregation goes through a time of struggle, leaders do well to keep people focused on one issue at a time. There may be several issues, but you cannot work through them all simultaneously.
  3. If God has Spoken, that Settles It. I wish this went without saying, but it still needs to be said. If we are arguing over a matter of Scripture, there is nothing to argue about. At that point, we are not arguing with each other; we are arguing with God. If He has spoken, that settles the matter. My feelings or wants are subservient to the will of the Lord.
  4. Communication from Leaders Must be Constant, Firm, and Gracious. There is no way to overstate the importance of communication in times of trouble. In a physical family, just avoiding the issue does not make it go away. That’s also true in a congregation. Leaders need to speak clearly and boldly, but they must also maintain grace. Also, the communication from–and with–leaders needs to be constant. It should not appear to be some “edict from on high;” rather, it should be one piece of an ongoing conversation about something that is vital.
  5. The Church that Prays Together… Even through struggles, a congregation needs to pray. Even more, a congregation must be willing to pray specifically for struggles that are known and are threatening the unity and love of the church. While prayer should not be used to run people down, seeking God’s wisdom and guidance is never a bad thing!


I love that we are part of God’s family. The vast majority of the time that imagery is positive and fills our soul with joy. There are, however, times when that picture can be strained. Every family struggles, and every congregation will fuss at times, too.

The key is to work through those issues, treating each other like Philemon was to treat Onesimus, like a “beloved brother.” We are God’s family, and that means we better be willing to work together.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn