Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {June 27, 2014 edition}

Thank you.

Those are the only words I know to say for how you have helped our site get off the ground. We have now been A Legacy of Faith for just over 3 weeks, and the support has been tremendous. For every “like,” “share,” email, comment, or view, thank you.

Just to let you know, I’m not sure if there will be a family links post next Friday. It will be July 4, and we will be visiting family. If I can get time (and a good internet connection), there will be one. If not, we’ll just take next Friday off of these posts.

On to this week’s family links.

Family Friendly Finds

 

This Week’s Finds

Leaving a Legacy that Will Help Get them to Heaven [Pulpit Perspectives]

Four Habits Fathers Should Avoid [for the family]

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go… [A Bible Commentary]

How to Build a Mini-Golf Course at Home with Your Family [My Kids' Adventures]

Self Assurance Checklist for the Anxious Traveler [Seth Godin]

Our Week in Review

The following posts are our top-5 most-viewed articles from the past seven days. Not all were published during the last week, so the original publication date is in parentheses.

#5: 10 Budget Basics for Families (March 12, 2014)

#4: Acts by the Numbers Complete! {Free Printables} (October 21, 2013)

#3: Winning by Losing (June 24, 2014)

#2:It’s Just Not the Same (June 23, 2014)

#1: 5 Ways to be Sure Your VBS is a Failure (June 25, 2014)

Connect with A Legacy of Faith

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Use the box below, or click this link, to join 510 Facebook fans. (In the last 7 days, we have added 40 new “likes” for the page. Thank you!)

Parents, Remember This… {Quote for Pinterest}

Today, we share another quote for you that is designed in such a way for you to put it on your Pinterest board to encourage others. This one’s for us parents.

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5 Ways to be Sure Your VBS is a Failure

5 VBS failure

So, you’ve been asked to head up Vacation Bible School. You didn’t really want the position, but you were the closest warm body when the elders decided to have VBS again this year, so you got put on the spot and asked to be in charge.

Now, you know that VBS is important, but you aren’t all that thrilled about being in charge. So, you are looking for some ways to make sure that this year’s Vacation Bible School is the worst ever. You know that, should you make it a failure, you’ll never be asked to head it up again.

How can you be sure your VBS is a failure? Follow these 5 simple steps.

1. Don’t Worry about Creativity. If you have anyone with artistic, technical, or “craft” talent in the congregation, make sure you don’t ask them to help. They might make things look beautiful and colorful, and it might cause the children to want to come back. Be sure these people have nothing to do with designing flyers (see #4) or skits. Make everything predictable and stilted. The best thing you can do is make smudged Xerox copies of everything–flyers, handouts, craft sheets, etc., and use nothing but words on everything. No cute pictures allowed!

2. Just Have VBS because You’ve Always Had It. After all, isn’t that why you got asked to head it up? Do not worry about evaluation or improvement. Since Vacation Bible School has been on the church calendar for 48 years, we have to make it 49. Treat it that way, like it’s a “have to.” That attitude will permeate the whole place, and you’ll be sure to sour everyone’s mood about this event.

3. Wait Until the Last Minute to Plan. If you want a VBS that isn’t good, don’t spend a lot of time on planning. The more you plan, the better it will be, and that’s what we are trying to avoid. By planning less, you will squelch any time to think of creative things, and you will also be certain that lots of details are just overlooked and messed up. Perfect!

4. Assume People Know about It. If attendance is good, the congregation will want you to head up VBS again next year. The best way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to just act like everyone knows about VBS. If you must make advertisements, make them unclear. But speak about Vacation Bible School very little from the pulpit, and use as few methods of informing people as possible. After all, it’s been on the 2nd week of July for the last 26 years. Shouldn’t everyone just know that’s when it will be again? This is a great attitude for the leader to have!

5. Never Thank Anyone. Even though you may not want VBS to succeed, lots of people do work hard. They teach. They make cookies. They go against your wishes and make things cute and creative. Be sure to avoid thanking them. Your admiration might cause them to want to do this again. Instead, when VBS is over, just move on as if it never happened.

…after all, sometime around late May next year, you’ll be asked to throw this thing together again.

…because we’ve always had VBS, so we have to have it again.

[NOTE: If you don't catch the dripping sarcasm in this post, I'm sorry. I love VBS, and I am honored to serve as the "point guy" for our Vacation Bible School at Lebanon Road. This post is meant to be satirical in every way, and is designed to make us all think about events, like VBS, that we can hold just out of habit.]

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Winning by Losing

winning losing

Phil Wilson was a man of integrity. He was most of all kind and generous. He was soft-spoken and respectable. In business he was not only visionary, but he worked hard, always multitasked, and he treated his employees with respect and consideration. In fact, he treated them in such a way as to always tip the scales in their favor. If there was ever a need, he would go the extra mile. Phil Wilson graduated this past week from this earthly life into eternity. I will always have fond memories of his genuine compassion and sincerity as well as his kindness and friendship and support which he expressed to me directly.

Phil used to say that if he were to ever write a book about his life it would be entitled Winning by Losing. When those close to him were trying to understand why he sacrificed so much and often took losses to bless others, they were prone to wondering why Phil would be willing to go to such lengths. But Phil Wilson had discovered the key to living a life free from guilt and regret. He made sure to not leave any room for doubt concerning his love for the Lord and for people. He was the perfect example of what it meant to be an honorable businessman.

It occurs to me that when our Savior walked the earth he perfected the art of winning by losing. From His humble birth to His persecution and death, and every minute in between, His life was a constant series of losses. His family mocked Him and thought He was crazy when He began His ministry. He traveled long dusty roads and depended on others for His sustenance. He said, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58). He chose the prime years of His life to teach 12 men how to win by losing. He was ridiculed, reviled, and rebutted every day. Eventually He was friendless, rejected by His people, and hanging on the cross as the scourge of all humanity.

When others would have taken vengeance, He forgave. When others would have accepted praise, He retreated to seclusion. When others would have used such power to become famous, He said, “Tell no one.” When others would have used such wisdom to promote their greatness, He simply responded with questions to cause people to grow. The little that He had in the physical realm He shared or gave away. He was even willing to remain on the cross when those who were killing Him challenged Him to prove Himself by coming down.

If we are truly disciples of Christ, our lives will be models of how we can win by losing. We will think of the needs of others above our own. We will love people according to their best interest. We will deny ourselves to supply others. We will take pleasure in our losses when it results in somebody else’s gain.

Phil’s son-in-law remarked about this book that never had been put to paper, that had it been written it would have been a best seller. He is probably correct. But in a sense it has been written. It was actually written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But it was not about the life of Phil Wilson. It was about the physical life of the one and only Son of God. Jesus gave it all. All to Him I owe. He won by losing. So will I.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” ~ Matthew 16:25

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It’s Just Not the Same

just not same

Recently, my wife and I were away from our church family for two consecutive Sundays.  In fact, we were unable be with any other people “…who have obtained like precious faith with us…” (2 Peter 1:1).

We were sure that this would be the case on the first Sunday and thought that it might be the case on the second Sunday.  For that reason, we had prepared for that eventuality.

At least we thought we had prepared.

We had made arrangements to do all that we normally do on the Lord’s day.  We took with us what was needed to remember His death as we ate the unleavened bread and thought of His body that hung on the cross.  We also took with us the fruit of the vine that reminded us of His precious blood that was shed for us.

We had made arrangements for our contribution to be included in the collection “back home.”  Since the Lord blesses us each week, we give to His cause each week whether we are “at home” or not.  Our understanding of 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 motivates us to do that.

We sang, from memory, hymns of praise.  Since we were in an environment that demonstrated some God’s wonderful creation, some of those songs focused on that.

Of course, we offered prayer to our Father just as we do every Lord’s day — and every other day for that matter.

Thanks to modern technology, we even heard wonderful lessons from God’s Word.  I had downloaded to my smartphone some sermons that had been preached by our son.  It shouldn’t surprise anybody that we appreciated listening to them.  I think it did surprise him to learn that he had preached in both Tennessee and Alaska one week and Tennessee and Canada the next.

However, even with all of that preparation, something was missing.  Even though we did everything we normally do on Sunday, it was just not the same.

I’ve already mentioned what was different.

We were not with our church family.

Have you ever noticed how many of the epistles in the New Testament were written to individual congregations of God’s people? Do you think there might be a reason for that?  Doesn’t it seem to you that the Lord never intended for individual Christians to live in isolation?

Have you ever noticed how many times you read the phrase “one another” as it applies to Christians?  Just a small sampling would indicate that we are to:

  • …love one another (John 13:34; 15:12, 17; Romans 13:8, et al.)
  • …serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • …comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  • …bear with one another (cf. Colossians 3:13)
  • …forgive one another (cf. Colossians 3:13)

People who are not already actively and regularly involved in a good, sound, loving, serving congregation of God’s people have no idea what they are missing.  To those who believe they can “do their own thing” and have a rich, deep, meaningful worship experience, I would say that it’s just not the same as being with your brothers and sisters and worshiping God together.

Hebrews 10:25 may be seen by some as an isolated piece of legislation.  The interpretation that some seem to have of this verse is, “I’ve got to go to church to stay out of trouble with God.”

While we should, in fact, want to do all we can to live up to His expectations, I believe that a second look at this verse might be appropriate.  If we couple it with the preceding verse (which is another one of those “one another” passages), we might gain a little more insight.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near

(Heb. 10:24-25, ESV).

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Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {June 20, 2014}

We continue to be so thankful for the reception A Legacy of Faith has received. We have heard from several of you through social media, and we appreciate all that you are doing to help get the word out, as well as to encourage us. Thank you!

On to this week’s family links.

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

Even Jesus Needed to Hear It [Life in the Kingdom]

A Tribute to Biblical Fatherhood [Spiritual Java]

Screen Time and Kids: Understanding How Tech Impacts Children [My Kids' Adventures]

7 Ways to Spiritually Invest In Your Marriage [for the family]

Stop Quoting Bad Divorce Stats [Calvary Chapel]

Our Week in Review

The following posts are our top-5 most-viewed articles from the past seven days. Not all were published during the last week, so the original publication date is in parentheses.

#5: The Family = An Anvil? {Quote for Pinterest} (June 19, 2014)

#4: Welcome to “A Legacy of Faith” (June 12, 2014)

#3: Must Do’s for Dads (June 17, 2014)

#2: Three Reasons to Trust the Bible (June 16, 2014)

#1: Dirty Laundry, Social Media, and Evangelism (June 18, 2014)

Connect with A Legacy of Faith

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The Family = An Anvil? {Quote for Pinterest}

Today’s post is a great quote for you. If you use Pinterest, why not pin it and encourage someone else today, too?

family anvil quote

 

In what way have you seen Swindoll’s words come true in your own family? Share your story in the comments.

 

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Dirty Laundry, Social Media, and Evangelism

dirty laundry

Social media can be a wonderful gift. It provides us with ways to connect with friends, share great ideas, encourage people around the world, and get information out to a wide range of people in a short amount of time.

On the other hand…

Social media can be a horrible curse. It provides us with ways to disparage the character of others, spread falsehood and rumors, further the growth of smut and filth, and damage our own reputation in a matter of moments.

Over the years, I have tried to use the social media world for good. Especially through Facebook and Twitter, I have been honored to connect with lots of folks, and have been greatly encouraged many times, often by people I rarely get to see in person.

But I have also noticed a trend among some Christians that really bothers me. Oh, there are many negative ways in which Facebook and other sites are used. One, though, has really been getting to me lately.

It is when Christians air the dirty laundry from church through social media.

“Our preacher made everyone mad this morning when he said…”

“Sure wish our song leaders wouldn’t think they were the center of attention…”

“The elders obviously just don’t get it…”

“What some people wear to worship…”

“Everyone at church is upset about…”

And on and on it goes. I wish I was making these quotations up. Admittedly, I have not done exact quotes for the purposes of this article (for obvious reasons), but these are all based upon things I have seen over the years on Facebook.

Even more tragically, some of the posts name names of the “guilty” (notice the quotation marks!).

Why would we do that? Why would Christians think it is a good idea to talk about the negative things at their local congregation via Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites?

Are there times when we must address negative things in our local congregations? Of course. So long as there are people in a local congregation, that congregation will have struggles. People make mistakes. They aren’t always as kind as they should be. They will sin. They will be unwise.

And, yes, we must deal with those things.

But to just put those issues out for the world to see on Facebook is unwise. It hurts the reputation of the local congregation, and harms our ability to evangelize our local community (let alone the world).

So, before you hit “enter” and post your latest rant, why not re-read the post three times.

  1. Reread it as if you were seeking the Lord. Likely, you have friends on Facebook or Twitter who are seeking answers to life’s deepest questions. Will your little rant help draw them nearer to a community of believers, or push them away from wanting to be part of a congregation?
  2. Reread it with Colossians 4:6 nearby. Paul wrote that our words are always to be “gracious.” Is your latest airing of dirty laundry really “gracious” to that person, the elders, the congregation as a whole, or even to the Lord Himself?
  3. Reread it as one who can’t stand the church. There are plenty of people out there who do not like Christianity or who do not like the local church. Why would we give them more “ammo” for their arguments?

Let’s make sure we use social media as a way to teach, encourage, and lift others to a higher place. There is a place to handle issues that arise in our local congregations, but the social media world just isn’t it!

Instead of airing dirty laundry, let’s put on the Christian armor and get to the work of evangelizing the world.

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Must Do’s for Dads

must dos dads

If you are a father you are blessed. If you have or have had a godly father you are beyond blessed. Unfortunately, many children are growing up today without a positive spiritual influence from their father. Some do not have any kind of relationship with their physical father at all. Still some fathers, though present in their children’s lives, are too busy spending time in the world to spend time with their families.

But I know some GREAT men who deeply love the Lord and who are strong spiritual leaders. These men all have several things in common – things they practice that qualify them as good fathers and teach others what being a man of God is all about.

So here are some “Must Do’s” for dads:

1. Be your family’s “worship leader.” I always think it is interesting anymore to hear about churches hiring and paying “worship leaders.” Really? I don’t see that anywhere in the New Testament. What is needed is a father in every household who is a worship leader. Job was. Abraham was. Cornelius was. It worked out pretty well for their families spiritually speaking. A father who loves the Lord and the church above all else will likely produce children of the same persuasion.

2. Love the mother of your children. Without a word your wife and the mother of your children should be the same woman. This is God’s plan. When we think about our children’s future – what are we hoping for? If we are in our right minds we would think about heaven first, and this earthly life second. When we consider their future here, we should be praying that one day they will find a Christian spouse who will love them and be committed to them for life. Real men will express love to their wives in the daily activities that will be witnessed by the whole family. Children will find comfort and rest and joy and love in a home where men love their wives as Christ loved the church. A man who loves his wife will nourish and cherish her. This will equip her with the ability to do the same for the children.

3. Let your favorite hobby be your kids. I have counseled failing marriages for years now. A common problem in these struggles is a man who has checked out on his wife and kids. He always wants to golf, be at the lake, go hunting, or engage in some other “me time.” I was entrapped by this once myself – and thankfully, only for a short time. Satan was lying to me. I was miserable. The outings did not provide the happiness and solitude they had promised. A man who wants all of his hobbies to be away from his wife and kids is a selfish individual. The greatest things he has going, and the most important people he will ever influence – live between the corners of his house.

4. Take pride in what you provide. My father taught me that there is no substitute for hard work when it comes to expressing the value of those who have been entrusted to your care. The size of your house, the newness of your car, and the amount of money you have in the bank are not what make you a successful man. But working and sweating and sacrificing for what you have is honorable at all times. When you give your all every day with your wife and children as the objects of your love and sacrifice, you can rest easy on your pillow at night. In time your family will understand what you have done for them. They will love you and respect you – not for the rest of your life – but for the rest of theirs.

If you will be a spiritual leader, love your wife, spend time with your children, and provide for your family, you will fulfill your God-ordained purpose and duty as a father. The satisfaction you will receive from doing these things will far outweigh the sacrifices. You will enjoy deserved rest. You will have peace of mind and peace with God. Your life and your heart and your home will be filled with all the fullness of God.

“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.” ~ Proverbs 23:24

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Three Reasons to Trust the Bible

three reasons bible

The wise man of old was certainly correct when he wrote, “…of the making of many books there is no end…” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). As I am writing this, I have just looked at a website that purports to keep “up to the minute” figures on how many books have been published. According to it, somewhere in the world, there have been five books published in the last minute — or over 971,000 so far this year.
It is interesting to me that one book stands alone — in so many ways. It has long been said that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. According to the latest figures of which I am aware, it still is.
I would like to suggest three reasons to trust this “tried and true” volume. The first reason is one that you would expect a preacher to mention.

#1 The Bible is inspired by God.
While I will not spend much time defending that statement, I will point out that no other volume both claims inspiration and has all of those claims validated in so many ways.

#2 The Bible is practical.

I would challenge anybody to find a subject that is not, in some way, dealt with in the Bible. There are subjects that cause the greatest minds of the ages to marvel. Subjects such as the origin of the universe and life, the intricacies of the human body and all of matter, and the meaning and purpose of life would be examples of this.

At the same time, there are subjects that are very practical for every person in every situation. Is it not true that following the teachings found in the Bible would make me a better neighbor, friend, husband, father, sibling, employer, employee, etc.? The list is almost endless, isn’t it?
For our purpose here, I would confine this discussion to interpersonal and/or family relationships. Can you think of anything that would fit under this umbrella which is not dealt with in the Bible?

#3 The Bible is durable.

Here is just one of many examples of what I mean by that. Among the many books that Dr. James Dobson has written, you’ll find what I think are some interesting titles. You’ll find Dare to Discipline and (a few years later) The New Dare to Discipline. You’ll also find The Strong-Willed Child and (again a few years later) The New Strong- Willed Child.

None of this should be taken as a criticism of Dr. Dobson. It is meant only as an illustration that materials produced by mere men (even very smart men) need updating as new and/or more pertinent information is discovered.

I wouldn’t want to trust my physical health to a doctor who is getting his information from a medical book that was written by some man, is no longer practical, and is two hundred years old. I will, however, trust the information I get about my eternal destiny from a book that is divinely inspired, is always practical, and is about two thousand years old.

How about you?

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