All in Family

How To Have A Confrontational Conversation

I don’t love confrontational conversations. When I have one coming down the chute it occupies a huge sum of mind-share. I worry about it going poorly. I worry about being misunderstood. I worry about my heart being unclear. I worry about hurting the person.  

In short, I’m not a fan of conflict. I actually don’t know any sane person who is. Regardless of my discomfort, conflict remains a part of relationship in a fallen world. If you’re going to relate with someone, a time will come when you have to confront them about something. It may be something they said or did that hurt you. It may be a blind spot in their lives that is a problem. The context will change, but the inevitability of conflict will not. 

Confronting someone is not easy and should not be taken lightly. It can easily go south if not taken seriously and prepared for properly. One redeeming factor in my discomfort with confrontation is that I’ve developed a process for confrontation that I've found helpful. If you have one of these uncomfortable but important conversations in your future, here’s how I have a confrontational conversation:

5 Rules For Family Devotions

This week I'm writing about family devotions. We've talked about a strategy, how to pick the right resources, and I want to conclude this short series with five simple rules for family worship. So here they are...

1. Keep It Simple

Read. Sing. Pray. It really doesn't need to be more complicated than that. I spent an entire year so overwhelmed about how to perfectly shepherd my kids that I largely wasn't shepherding my kids. I can't overemphasize how important it is that you don't get up in your head about this. Choose your resources carefully, but then keep it simple and get after it. 

2. Keep It Fun

The quickest way to kill momentum is make your kids dread devotions. Keep it fun. Get over yourself. Act out stories. Make a game out of it. Use voices. Put them in the story. I don't care how you do it, just keep it fun. Fun takes work, so put in the extra effort because it will be worth it. 

3 Factors To Consider When Choosing Resources For Family Devotions

Yesterday I wrote about a simple strategy for family devotions. In addition to the right strategy, we need the right resources. The right children's Bible, for instance, could make, or break the quality of your family devotions with little kids. In the same way, if your kids are older and you choose a Bible written for little kids...let's just say, they'll be less than jacked about feeling like they're in Sunday school again.  

Before I recommend a few things, here are three factors to consider when choosing which resources to use...

 

3 Rhythms for Family Devotions

Every parent has high hopes for their children. We all want our kids to be “well-adjusted” (whatever that means), healthy, successful, and most of us pray our kids marry somebody great. While I share all of these hopes for my kids, I have one desire for them towering above the rest: I want each of my kids to know and love Jesus.  

Sadly, many of us have abdicated this responsibility, delegating the shepherding of our children to the local church. Obviously, the local church has a crucial role to play in the spiritual formation of children, but God’s goal is for discipleship to start in the home. This demands the “God-talk” described in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. At breakfast, on the way to school, sitting around the house, playing games, watching TV, mealtimes - there is never a time we cannot and should not engage the hearts of our kids in spiritual matters. 

As a parent of three young kids (Ava 5, Ryder 3, Lincoln 1) I always want to look for these opportunities to talk about Jesus and we’ve found regular family devotions to be the best way to plant the seeds from which these everyday conversations can grow - especially while our kids are young. 

We’ve struggled to find the right manner and method. I’ve read a number of books, listened to some lectures, and asked lots of friends how they practice family devotions and finally we’re starting to feel like we’re figuring it out…I think…maybe…at least right now :-) It’s hard work and requires constant attention. In our house, we’ve found that effective family devotions are made up of three basic rhythms…

 

One Way To Manage Christmas Morning

I don’t know what Christmas morning is like in your house, but with three little kids (all under the age of six) in our house, it’s about two clicks past chaos. I think last year we opened every gift and were well into our first mental breakdown by 7am. 

To be honest, the chaos is part of what makes Christmas with little kids fun. Any parent who loves their children finds great joy in waking up early with their kids and watching them tear through presents. I love experiencing this through the eyes of my children each year. 

What I think has been lacking in my home these past few years has NOT been fun, but intentionality. 

Christmas morning is a crucial spiritual formation opportunity to be capitalized on with my family. I want to be flexible and have fun, but this year I also want to manage Christmas morning with more intentionality. Here’s what I’ll be doing:

7 Ways For Good Pastors To Be Great Dads

God’s primary proving ground for a pastor is not his work in the pulpit, but his home. This means that a man qualifies and disqualifies himself in the home before he ever does in the church. No amount of ministry fruitfulness will justify our failure to love and lead the families God has given us. 

Yes, pastoral ministry comes with a unique brand of difficulty. The hours are long, the work is hard, and the results are often unseen. But, we cannot let this serve as an excuse for being lousy dads. We can do better. We have a heavenly Father who willingly sacrificed His own Son, so that through faith, we could be saved and faithfully father our own sons and daughters.  By God’s grace and through the Spirit’s strength, here are seven ways for good pastors to be great dads… 

5 Ways To Love Your Pastor's Kids

My dad was not a pastor, but I had enough friends who had a pastor for a dad to know that it’s not easy. This is a critical issue for me as parent of three kids and a pastor of a young church. I want them to love Jesus. I want them to love me. I want them to love the Church. You may not attend my church, but if you read my blog, you most likely attend some church. So, here are five ways you can help love your pastor’s kids.

In many churches, the most thankless job is that of the pastor's wife. Though the pastor alone is paid, the pastor's wife is often still saddled with a host of responsibilities and expectations. She is expected to be a model wife, nurturing mother, friend to everyone, run a women's ministry, throw every baby shower, and cook every meal. These expectations are often unfair, unhelpful, and most importantly, unbiblical. "Pastor's Wife" is not a secret third office of church leadership. The Bible contains no job description for the pastor's wife, which is why extra-biblical expectations are often placed upon her.

It was Tuesday and, like any other Tuesday, I was sitting at my desk, Bible open, wrestling with the upcoming Sunday's sermon outline. In short, I was being a good pastor, doing the hard work of preparing to put another meal on the table for my church family. In the midst of my faithful stewardship of the pastoral responsibility God has given me (said in a pompous and sarcastic tone), I received the following text message from my wife:

Tami and I have been together for over 10 years now and we've been married for almost seven of those years. Outside my salvation, she is the greatest gift God has given me and by His grace I can say that I love and enjoy her more now than I ever have before. Over these last ten years I've learned many things. One thing in particular never ceases to amaze me, namely that I don't always understand her. She thinks differently than I do, she responds differently than I do, and she feels differently than I do about many things. This is both a blessing and a challenge.

I hate to see my kids suffer. Ever since Ava and Ryder were born, some of my least favorite memories have been taking them to the pediatrician for their regular check ups and the dreaded...SHOTS! Even though they couldn't talk when they were infants, they would look up at me with that confused and pained expression that asked, "Why are you allowing me to experience this pain?" The answer, of course is, "Because it's for your good. I know it hurts and I know you don't understand, but trust me, it's for your good."

But, if I'm honest, the reason I hate it when my kids suffer has less to do with them and more to do with me.

 

My kids are two of the great evidences of God's grace toward me. My daughter, Ava is 3 1/2 and my son, Ryder is 1 1/2. If you have kids then you know that parenting is both a blessing and a burden. Kids (much like adults) can be selfish, draining, and difficult. Kids do not always listen and often have strong wills of their own (i.e. Ava is currently crying in her bed as I write because she doesn't want to go to bed...we do this every night -  is the crying really necessary?)

As my kids get older I continue to learn one lesson above the rest:

 

Some husbands are heretics. In Ephesians 5:25-33 Paul instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This means Christ is the ultimate example of how I should love my wife - He sacrificed everything, including His comfort, convenience, and preference for His bride, the Church. Paul is clear that as a husband I am to reflect this same type of love in my relationship with my wife and that in so doing I’m saying something to her, to our church, and to our culture about Jesus.

So the question I’m asking myself this morning is,