Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Program Parents Should Know About


Have you ever run into this situation? Your teen tells you they are working on homework yet you repeatedly look over to find them on Facebook or Twitter?

There is a simple app you can install on your computer to fix that.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Getting To Know Me Blog Challenge - Day 2 "10 Years"

Day 2 - 10 Years from now

I have taken a Blog Challenge to blog daily for the next 30 days mostly about myself so that you and others can get to know me a bit better. Tell a friend about this month, or like and interact with me on my Facebook ministry page at 

I find this to be a very fun topic, it is so broad that it can be taken in several directions. So I will oblige myself by expounding on a few of those directions here. I will cover what I hope my family will be like in 10 years, what I hope my career will look like in 10 years, and what I hope my families finances will be like in 10 years. Since this is a getting to know me challenge I will save what I hope the world will look like in 10 years for another post another day.

My Family in 10 Years - 
In 10 years from today I will be 36 years old and my wife will be the big 40. My son will be 10 1/2 years old and he will hopefully have a younger brother about 8 years old. My wife will be able to spend as much time with our kids as she would like because she will be working just enough to keep her sanity 10-20 hours a week in Physical Therapy. My Son George will likely be interested in a lot of things mostly spending time outdoors with daddy and Grandpa. I have no clue what it is that his main interest would be I want to let him choose what he does and I will just support him as best I can, I might discourage football unless there are significant advances in concussion prevention. I could see him being great at any number of things including gymnastics or aerial acrobatics all the way to baseball really anything. My family is now and still will be my absolute first priority (aside from my personal relationship with Christ) and hopefully we will be able to travel. I want my kids to be able to see the world and understand how amazing God's creation is while at the same time being able to see all the work the body of Christ is doing in the world as well as how much work still needs to be done. 

My Career in 10 years - 
In 10 years I will have finished seminary and with God's grace I will have been an Ordained elder in the Methodist church for at least 3 years (it can be a long process). At this point in my career I could see myself in a medium size church for the North Texas Conference (around 250 Average Worship Attendance) hopefully as the Sr. Pastor. I would be excited about leading the vision and direction of the church and helping it to live into the mission of creating disciples. I could potentially see myself in a new church plant, helping bring the message of Christ through the lens of Methodism to people in new ways. One thing I hope I will have accomplished by this point is figuring out what it is that elevates a preacher to become a "national voice" for people who are looking for more christian content than Sunday morning. For example:Matt Chandler, Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Joel OlsteenRick Warren, Rob Bell or others. Then take whatever it is that lifts their voice to a national level and use that strategy to elevate a Methodist voice (or a few) to that level because as great as those current voices are, we don't understand the way God interacts with the world in the same way. We all agree and must focus on the cross of Christ, but some of the things they say become stumbling points for people who understand God differently than they do and I feel strongly that the nations theology could benefit from a national voice that has a Wesleyan understanding of the Gospel.

My Personal Finances in 10 years - 
In 10 years I plan to be 100% debt free. This includes my home and student loans, and no car payment either. This would only be 4 years early on the mortgage so I think it will be doable so long as my wife and I continue to embrace the Wesley philosophy of Make as much as you can, Save as much as you can, Give as much as you can. We live below our means. I hope to have set up a self generating stream of income through MASA that will essentially eliminate a need for my wife to make an income and free her to be able to stay home if she would like or work if she would like but so that she would not need to for the sake of the family budget. Likely I can see her still working between 10-20 hours a week but because she would go stir crazy if she didn't. I hope to have by this point a healthy retirement fund and be preparing myself to set up another side stream of income in real estate if I haven't got it set up already by then.

All these plans and hopes are of course subject to God's will for my life and barring disaster. 10 years ago at 16 I did a similar exercise on Xanga does anyone even remember that blog site? Most of what I imagined for my life happened, I graduated college in 4 years, I got Married and had my first kid at the age of 25 (the thing that didn't happen was real estate investing but that is because my stance on debt has changed, we did buy our first house though). I pray that God will continue to bless my life as he already has so far so that I could be a blessing to others.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Parents and Teenagers - Communication

Teenagers actually want to talk with you about their stuff.

Yes you read that correctly. No, I'm not crazy.

Teenagers want to be able to share both the good and the difficult things that are happening to/around them in life.

The difficult part of communicating with your teenager is accepting that they want to talk to you and then looking objectively as to why the conversations are not happening.

Teenagers live in a world of Chaos, constantly trying to figure out who they can trust or what  is going to actually help them in life. Teenagers, though they may not realize it, are afraid. Some perceive their lives to be mostly out of their control. Others realize that their future is up to them and that can be even more frightening.  The noticed or un-noticed fear affects the way they interact with the world around them especially the way they communicate with you their parent. They all WANT to talk, most don't feel like they can.

So if you find it difficult to talk with your teenager, or think I am a lunatic for suggesting they actually want to talk to you, ask yourself these questions.

Can your teenager tell you something that absolutely breaks your heart as a parent or for them as a child without you interrupting them with a volcano of emotion?

Have you prioritized your life in a way that allows time for a long conversation? on their terms and not just when they are in trouble?

Can your teenager trust you to just listen? Or do you jump into advice mode before they finish processing and verbalizing what they are trying to say? Or do you jump to judging and punishing before compassion and love?

(I am not saying don't punish I'm saying punish after clearly exhibiting that your love for them is unchanged by what was talked about or happened, and that the punishment is intended for their long term benefit)

Have you respected things they are interested in? have you talked with them about things you are interested in? and not reacted negatively if they don't share your interest?

Last and most importantly if you think your teenager doesn't want to talk with you about their world -

Have you asked them about it? Do you pay enough attention to notice when they have something they want/need to talk about?

I understand clearly that some parents will not get to the point of great communication with your teenager either because of current life circumstance or the history of parent child relationships in your family. In that case let me plead with you because it is still true that your child WANTS to talk to you.

If you cannot provide that ear for your teenager yourself, please find an adult or group of adults to connect with that you trust and respect to be that listening ear for your child. Otherwise they will rely solely on the wisdom of their peers (or the internet) and that is like playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in the six shooter. Can they thrive in life with just the wisdom of peers (and the internet)? yes its possible, but the odds are not good. We all need the wisdom and influence of someone who has experience, and we can't benefit from the wisdom without feeling like we can talk. So please communicate with your children/teen about life.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.

Pardon the crass expression but it is true.

Do you feel like young people are just impossible to connect with these days? Maybe you are a parent or a teacher who just feels like teenagers wont listen to you. Maybe you are involved with young people in another way and it seems like the generation that was born after AOL became popular is the most disrespectful people you have ever met. Maybe you are great at connecting with young people and think they are fantastic. Maybe This generation gives you hope for a better world in the future. I have no idea where in the spectrum you may find yourself. But I can offer a bit of wisdom on the subject. Hopefully you will find it useful in understanding your interactions with people under 20. Most importantly I hope it helps you evaluate yourself in a way that leads to personal growth.

To me what I am about to share is what I consider to be a leading factor in why young people are moving away from previously well established places like church.

Here it is.

Young people have been increasingly exposed to modern technology that exposes them to exponentially growing communication and information. Because sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever other communication or social network you can think of expose us to so many people, it is now a matter of social survival to notice pattern in order to discern between what is authentic and what is fake or sarcastic.

Basically what I'm saying is - Young people are getting better and better at smelling b.s.

Pardon the crass expression but it is true.

In a world where Facebook notifies you of each of your "friends" birthdays what significance is it when you write happy birthday on their wall? Often the only time a person communicates directly with us in a given year through Facebook is when we see this reminder. Is there really a connection through that? Most young people will acknowledge that they appreciate the gesture, but it caries little weight in knowing how that person does or doesn't value them.

Someone with the pattern of being rude, selfish, and full of pride, who has only said hello to you in the hallway at school or shared a third grade classroom with you might shoot you a message or "like" a post, or "favorite" a tweet. In that moment young people wonder what is the motive, is it to be seen as the nice person who wishes you a happy birthday? is the motive to make you think about them? is the motive selfish, or selfless. Is it an authentic connection or is it fake?

Even more confusing is the person who we know even less about or are less connected to sends us a message asking how things are going.

So when it comes to connecting with young people (especially those who cant remember the world before AOL instant messenger or cant even remember that far back) there is a constant evaluation of authenticity. There is a constant guard against the fake, phony, sarcastic, and selfish pride.

It is not until you can show them a level of consistency in who you are, and that you value who they are and not just what they can bring to you, that you will be able to connect with them on a level that serves to  impact their lives.

When you as a parent or teacher or youth worker try to have a serious conversation about God, morality, or simply respect and responsibility think first about what you have invested in connecting with them. They already have and will at best invest in what your telling them to the degree that they perceive you have invested in them.

With regard to why I think this contributes to young people leaving established churches, denominations, or religion is because there is often a disconnect between what we believe and how we live. This is inconsistency is the main red flag of something that is fake. So they begin to trust less of what/who they hear and then loose respect before disconnecting completely.

Are we ever going to be able to live 100% consistent lives probably not but I hope that this article would help to move you on toward perfection. Let us seek to live authentically and genuinely value the lives of the people we interact with if not all people. Hopefully the ever increasing ability to distinguish authenticity and depth from that which is shallow and fake will serve to move the world in a positive direction forcing us to love our neighbors just that much more.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.