Our current semester of POD Coaching is underway. Pod Coaching consists of a monthly meeting between 4-8 participants for an hour and half. This semester of POD Coaching will be focusing on Leadership and Discipleship. We will be using "Painful Side of Leadership" by Jeff Iorg, and "Growing Up" by Robby Gallaty as resources. As a way to help anyone who has a desire to start POD groups, I am posting my Coaching Script for this semesters Coaching. I pray it is valuable to your ministry.
Our current semester of POD Coaching is underway. Pod Coaching consists of a monthly meeting between 4-8 participants for an hour and half. This semester of POD Coaching will be focusing on Leadership and Discipleship. We will be using "Painful Side of Leadership" by Jeff Iorg, and "Growing Up" by Robby Gallaty as resources. As a way to help anyone who has a desire to start POD groups, I am posting my Coaching Script for this semesters Coaching. I pray it is valuable to your ministry.
Acts 13:1–3 (ESV)
1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
1. Be Intentional about it.
The first missionary team was intentionally sent by a local church to extend the gospel and advance God’s kingdom throughout the Gentile world. Kingdom vision will follow a leader's intentionality, it will not happen through wishful thinking. How are you intentionally leading your church to have kingdom vision?
If the church is the outpost of Gods kingdom...then church planting is Gods means to advance His kingdom to the ends of the earth. The church at Antioch was an example of a multiplying church with a kingdom vision for intentionally making disciples.
2. Budget for it.
You are not serious about kingdom vision if your not willing to have a line item in your budget for church planting. If you want to find out what is important to your church, look at your budget. What you spend the most money and time on, reflect your priorities. Allocating resources for church planting is a testimony of kingdom leadership and a serious commitment to advance the gospel across the street and around the world.
3. Build His kingdom.
Our propensity is to grow our ministry, pastor our church, and build our kingdom. Kingdom vision will require dying to your hopes and dreams in exchange for seek first the kingdom of God. Building God’s kingdom means a radical commitment to His mission for making disciples and planting churches. A church with kingdom vision recognizes discipleship as the program of the church, not a program of the church. You will never lead a church with a kingdom vision if you are more concerned with building your kingdom, than making disciples who make disciples to advance His kingdom.
No matter how large or small, every church can take the next steps in cultivating a kingdom vision for church planting. Being intentional, addressing your budget, and prioritizing disciple-making are small steps churches can take to create a kingdom culture for the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel.
Want more information about leading your church to have kingdom vision? Check out these resources for Supporting and Sending churches.
Some months ago I read, Setting Their Hope in God, Biblical Intercession for Your Children, by Andrew Case. It is a practical prayer book written to challenge parents to pray consistently and biblically for their children. Intentional prayer is certainly one of the greatest challenges of a busy life, but if we believe the scriptures, we must cultivate this discipline.
Praying for your children has to be one of the greatest privileges God gives us as parents. I am so grateful that at 43 years of age God is still gracious and patient as he sanctifies me in the discipline of prayer. This was a great short read that I highly recommend.
Here are some takeaways:
From Ephesians 6:4, the work to be done by parents includes:
1. Instructing them in the faith.
2. Setting them a holy example.
3. Restraining them.
4. Praying for them.
You should pray for your children's conversion because:
- Their salvation is so great a prize that it is worth all the pains which your prayer to secure it for them may cost you.
- Few will pray for them if you do not.
- No one else can pray for them as you do.
- Your omitting to do so will be perilous to them and to you.
- You will find it easier to perform other parental duties, which God has ordained as means to their salvation.
- Prayer alone can call into exercise that divine power on their behalf, which is absolutely necessary in order that the prayers, which you may employ for their salvation, may not be used in vain.
- By their salvation, granted in answer to your prayers, your savior will be glorified.
You should pray for your children's welfare because:
- You may expect, as a result of your prayers, that the power of God will counteract the times you have failed in your parenting.
- Their will be critical periods in their lives when, without your incessant prayers, they may act most unwisely, if not disastrously.
- It will lead you to a better understanding of them.
- It will increase your holy desires for them.
- No other means will be so effectual in enabling you to overcome the difficulty you experience in talking with them on religious subjects.
- You will thereby secure for them God's aid in efforts they may make to yield to you in obedience.
- Other parents seeing you example, may be led to imitate you.
- The will often, should they continue in the world, have their times of need when the power of God alone can avail to help them.
Churches plant churches... On many occasions as a Pastor of a SENDING church and now a Missionary in New Orleans, I have encountered planters who want to plant, but they have no church that has sent them out.
Having a SENDING church is not only critical it is very biblical.
Here are 3 thoughts on the importance of a SENDING church:
1. A SENDING church provides affirmation.
Every church planter knows about assessments. These tools are excellent and needed for healthy church planting. But who knows you better than your SENDING church? The church at Antioch affirmed the calling of Paul and Barnabas, and sent them out. Who has affirmed your calling and leadership at the current church you are serving?
2. A SENDING church provides encouragement.
Being sent out by a church that knows you and loves you provides real encouragement for the long tough days of church planting. I have always found it interesting that God called Barnabas, the son of encouragement, to be on the team. What a testimony of the church at Antioch sending out their greatest encourager on the First Missionary Journey.
3. A SENDING church provides resources.
Resources will always be a need in church planting. A SENDING church is making an investment in you and the kingdom. Prayer, participation, and provision are some of the ways a SENDING church provides church planters with the needed resources to make a kingdom impact.
William Carey, who upon his trip to India, looked at the Baptist Missionary Society leadership and said, "Well, I will go down, if you will hold the rope." Carey would go as a missionary into the unknown and the BMS would provide him with the needed resources and support. Andrew Fuller, as secretary of the BMS, did just that, raising resources to send missionaries so the gospel could advance to the ends of the earth. A SENDING church holds the rope as planters take the gospel to cities and people who have no hope apart from the good news of Jesus Christ.
Church planting without a SENDING church is a disaster waiting to happen. Before you publicly declare God’s call for you to plant a church ask yourselves a few questions: Has your local church affirmed your calling and giftedness to plant? Does your local church have a kingdom vision to send out and give away? If you are unable to secure a SENDING church what does that say about your leadership? Statistically, church plants with SENDING churches have a higher success rate… but most importantly having a SENDING church is just really biblical.
Check out these NAMB resources for SENDING Churches.
There is much talk these days about “Christian Coaching” and from my perspective, rightfully so. Coaching can be a valuable resource for any pastor/planter to grow personally, spiritually, and missionally.
Here are three reasons I believe coaching is essential:
1. Discovery. A pastor friend said it best; “There is a criminal lack of self-awareness in pastoral ministry.” Although there has been much written on self-awareness, the reality remains, we see ourselves better than we really are. Coaching provides insight and input into how others see us. It is difficult to lead effectively when those you lead perceive you differently, than you perceive yourself. Who has permission to adjust your self-perception?
2. Development. Years ago while living in Helena, MT., I met a cowboy who said profoundly, “If you are not green and growing, you are dead and rotten.” Simple and ever so true! We are all in one of three places: We are growing and moving forward, we are losing ground and going backwards, or the most dangerous, we are stagnant and don’t even realize it. Coaching is not magic, only you can be responsible for you, but more often than not coaching is a catalyst for development and growth in the life of the leader.
3. Discernment. Impulsive decisions were one of my greatest leadership deficiencies during my first four years as a lead pastor. I am convinced that had I been coached, the experience would have enabled me to be a far more effective leader and decision maker. Coaching provides a listening ear and sounding board during critical times of ministry and life. Good coaching helps the leader by asking questions, listening, and giving input.
Entering into a coaching relationship is one of the most strategic decisions a leader will make. Through self-discovery, leadership development, and godly discernment a leader begins a journey of lasting and fruitful ministry. Stop lamenting your current circumstances; enlist a coach for your good and God’s glory.
As my children grow older I see the day quickly approaching where they will leave my home and be thrust into the world. Intentionality becomes paramount when you calculate the time you have with your children. Nevertheless, many parents have no intentional plan for parenting and families are left to experience the law of unintended consequences.
There is an ocean of regret among parents who in hindsight realize the consequences of not investing in their kids spiritually when they were young. Do not waste your parenting!
Isaac (11 yrs old) and I just finished a Manhood Retreat in the Black Creek Wilderness of South Mississippi where we covered two of our five Manhood Axioms:
1. BIBLICAL MANHOOD RECOGNIZES THE BREVITY OF LIFE
AND REFUSES TO WASTE IT.
2. BIBLICAL MANHOOD IS A JOURNEY TO A DESTINATION.
Milestones are an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development. Our Ten Miliestones start at birth and end at independence. Generally, they are progressive in order and age, although some milestones may come before others depending on the development of the child.
Joy and I have milestones to teach our boys about biblical manhood and our daughters about biblical womanhood in an age appropriate way. This would not happen with intentionality if we did not have a plan to implement.
Here are ten milestones we aim for in shaping and sharpening our sons and daughters. I am not suggesting you aim for our ten, but am suggesting you aim for something.
The dictionary defines vacation as: a break, time off, recess, leave, leave of absence, furlough, sabbatical.
Unfortunately far too many families do not experience this reality and even less leverage vacation as a part of family growth and discipleship. Personally, I separate vacation and break. There is only so much time you can strategically invest in your kids, for me family vacations are key times to do just that. Therefore my primary goal on family vacation is not rest it is family. This does not mean rest is not important, over the course of the year we implement strategic "breaks" to ensure personal and family health. I have even been known to take a nap or two on vacation.
Here are 4 practical ways to not waste your vacation:
1. Make Family Vacation A Priority
I can remember as a child getting a shark tooth necklace in Destin, FL. and catching trout in the mountains of Arkansas. These times are a cherished and vivid memory. It is not surprising how many adults can recall their family trips and vacation(s) when they were young.
Every family has different resources and circumstances that will impact where and what you do for family vacation. Nevertheless, families should be as proactive, creative and resourceful as possible to prioritize a family vacation. One of our family's most memorable vacations was a week stay in a farm house of a friend of a friend, 30 miles from civilization. It was cheap, memorable, and fun.
2. Prepare For Family Vacation Creatively.
The Dollar Tree is my best friend before family vacation. I can spend $40 and buy some of the craziest games, toys, and food you can imagine. My kids look forward to getting something crazy from Dollar Tree each afternoon/evening after family worship.
We always look for free parks and trails within driving distance wherever we go on family vacation. These are not only great opportunities to enjoy God's creation, but ways to enjoy time together without being locked into the phone, t.v., or computer. Make it fun!
For those with limited resources, there are always inexpensive or free activities to be found in most cities if you just spend some time on Google. Live within your means, but make every effort to do something fun and memorable, it only takes a little planning and research.
3. Record Family Vacation Faithfully.
I record every family vacation in my Evernote family vacation journal. Included are brief highlights, our family worship acrostic of the week, and some of our favorite pics. Thirty minutes maximum and I have a short record of a family memory. This has become a treasure for Joy and I to read and gift for us to pass down. You can read more here about the benefits of journaling and an example here of our last family vacation.
4. Leverage Family Vacation Intentionally.
Family vacations are a great time of discipleship. I am not talking about doing a study out of Leviticus, but leveraging the gospel as you manifest the rule and reign of Jesus on vacation. Each year I take a tradition from my father-in-law and create an acrostic for the week of family vacation. This year our word was G.R.A.C.E. Family worship is always a part of our vacation that my kids love. I give them a letter a night with a word for the day and a corresponding verse. After a 10-15 minute time together, we load up on Dollar Tree junk and play high/low for the day.
I was reminded this Spring about the impact you can have leveraging family vacation when I took my son and his friend with me to preach. During the drive they talked about vacations, my son out of no where began to talk about what he learned about praying at family vacation that previous summer. I listened in amazement. Our word for the week was A.C.T.S...Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. He remembered the first three, and I helped him out with Supplication:) I am always shocked at what my kids really remember.
Don't waste your vacation!
Journaling has at times been a very seasonal discipline. I have a row of journals in my office that span almost 12 years of consistent journaling. Then came a very sporadic time of journaling that lasted nearly 7 years.
Each time I review written notes from my grandmother, I am reminded that the written word is jewel to be treasured. Consistent journaling is a discipline that has great value. Numbers 33:1-2, has always been an encouraging word when it comes to keeping a record of my life's journey.
Here are 5 benefits I have found in journaling.
1. Journaling keeps you sharp.
Research reveals that writing stimulates your brain. I find that consistent journaling keeps me focused, strengthens my memory, and causes me to think and process at a higher level. The older I get, the more this becomes a reality.
2. Journaling provides a written record.
Reading the journals of others can have a profound impact on your life. Some of my favorite non-religious reading has come from Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they recount their epic round trip journey up the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. Our lives may not be that adventurous, but our journey with Christ is worthy to record.
3. Journaling acknowledges God's activity.
Reviewing old journals has brought me incredible encouragement. From reflecting on God's past faithfulness, to rejoicing in God's patient sanctification and discipline. It is an easy thing, to forget all God has done. Journaling is a discipline that wages war against our forgetfulness.
4. Journaling allows you to process.
When I write, I am forced to think. The thoughts from my head and heart have to make it to my pen and paper. There have been many occasions, that had I not been journaling, a significant truth would have been missed or an emotion would never have been articulated.
5. Journaling informs your posterity.
The dictionary defines posterity- all future generations of people. I have 2 categories of journaling. A personal journal that includes my daily devotional, prayers, and personal current events. A family journal with entries for each person in my family, that includes milestones, special moments, and family vacations. I pray these journals will impact with my children and their children for generations to come.
Journaling is not a tool that gives you greater value, worth, or standing with God, but another means of sanctification. I stress to myself that daily journaling is not the goal, consistent journaling is the goal.
It was a privilege for Joy and I to be with the Vintage Church family a few weeks ago. Pastor Dustin was gracious enough to ask me to write a follow up blog that I am reposting. Here are some family principles Joy and I try to implement and practice from Psalm 127 as we shape, sharpen, and prepare to send our arrows into the world.
The Bible is full of pictures of family & home life, Psalm 127:1,4 states, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” Since I love family and bow hunting, this was a very interesting illustration to me.
Parents, Lay A Solid Foundation
Anyone who has lived in New Orleans recognizes the importance of a solid foundation. The sounds of pile drivers creating a solid foundation in our mud soaked city are everywhere. Laying a gospel foundation is critical in your role as a parent. It is impossible to lay a foundation if you do not have a foundation. How does the gospel impact your parenting worldview? Immerse yourself in the gospel, grow in the gospel, lay a gospel foundation in your home. The gospel should inform our worldview, transform our life, and conform us to Jesus. Any foundation apart from the gospel is to build and labor in vain.
Parents, Parent With Courage
The Psalmist did not say that children were the “tools in the hands of a farmer” or “utensils in the hands of a cook”. I suppose he could have, but under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he chose, “arrows in the hands of a warrior,” which I think is significant and meaningful. Warrior (gib-bor) translates to hero, champion, valiant, mighty, strong… You get the picture? It speaks of courage. Effective parents must parent out of courage in the post-Christian culture we now live in. In twenty-one years of pastoral ministry, I have found that parents want my counsel, but often lack the courage to act on that counsel. Your pastors can give you counsel but they cannot give you courage. Be courageous in your parenting. Have a view to glorify God as you raise your arrows.
Parents, Your Arrows Should Be Carefully Made
Years ago I was driving through Montana and was able to stop at the “Battle Of The Little Big-Horn Battlefield.” I was able to see a group of Indian men who where part of a battle reenactment actually sit and make arrows from wood, arrowheads from rock, and put it all together with animal parts. One word described this: “disciplined.” They had a focused, monotonous duty to make and shape a weapon from a branch. To turn a branch into an arrow requires considerable time, care, and skill, as evidenced by the Indians on the reservation that day. Here’s a question: who is going to be the primary shaper of your kids? ...School friends? TV? Movies? Magazines? Technology? Sports? If you don’t shape them, someone else will.
Parents, Your Children Are Weapons of War
The current Christian parenting ethic aims to raise good, successful, well-behaved (publicly) kids and to keep the safe from harm. Do What….? We are in an epic battle between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of Christ. Lord, give me the grace to raise courageous gospel-warriors! My prayer is that God will use them as swift, penetrative, and offensive weapons to advance the gospel and unleash great damage on the kingdom of darkness. Paul continually reminds us that we are in a battle against the world, flesh, and the kingdom of darkness. As believers living for God’s glory, we should train our children to live like they are in a war and serve their King Jesus as Gospel arrows that are fired into a lost World.
Parents, Your Arrows Should Go In The Direction They Are Fired
Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes, “To this end we must have our children in hand while they are yet children, or they are never likely to be so when they are grown up; and we must try to point them and straighten them, so as to make arrows of them in their youth, lest they should prove crooked and unserviceable in after life.” -Spurgeon, C. H. (1993). Psalms. Crossway Classic Commentaries (274). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
As we teach, train, and fire our “arrows” towards Jesus and the Gospel, our hope and prayer is that by God’s grace they are saved and fired out as weapons of war, obediently living for His glory. As parents, it is critical that we begin firing our “arrows” at the right targets early in life. Many of us fire our “arrows” into the world as we target success, money, prominence, status, and worldliness. Just remember- there is a great chance that your “arrows” will go just where you trained them to go.
Hunting season is upon us and thanks to a gracious member of my former church, my boys and I have a Lifetime Mississippi Hunting License which we will use over Thanksgiving break! I take raising my children seriously and because of that everything I do must in some way lead my children to see and hear the gospel, hunting is no exception. I often think about two verses in the book of Joshua that constantly challenge me to lead my children to ask the right questions:
“that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:6–7, ESV)
“And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.” (Joshua 4:21–22, ESV)
The father’s in Israel were to lead their children to ask questions about what God had done and who He was. The role is no different thousands of years later, fathers are to lead their children to ask the right questions so they can proclaim the great name and glory of God.
Just in case some of you men print this off and tell your wife, “the pastor said I need to hunt more”. I am gonna give you 3 ground rules before I share “10 Things A Dad Can Teach His Son While Hunting”.
1. Hunting never comes before family. As the head and leader of your home, you now realize hunting is not a priority, your family is. When hunting comes before your family, it certainly comes before your God, and therefore it is an idol….hunting can’t be an idol. If you need help here, just ask your wife.
2. Hunting should always be fun for your son! Often times Dads forget, children are children. They are gonna be loud, they are gonna get whiney, and they are gonna mess up. Getting mad, angry, and fussing at your son will be a sure way to make your son hate hunting with his Dad. Be patient, positive, and productive; see the big picture.
3. Be Safe and Be Legal! If you don’t know the law learn it. http://home.mdwfp.com/License/info.aspx?id=13
10 Things A Dad Can Teach His Son While Hunting:
As I was hunting the other day, and absolutely nothing was moving, I thought about how much I have been able to teach Isaac through our hunting time together. I realized very quickly I needed to come home and put these in writing to encourage other Dads. I am often amazed at how we compartmentalize our Christianity here in America and especially the South. We talk God on Sunday, Church functions, or at a funeral; but I hardly ever find Dads who use life to talk about God…the bible is clear on how we should teach our children:
““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ” (Deuteronomy 6:4–7, ESV)
Essentially you are to talk about the LORD all the time. Just think about how much time we waste when we don’t constantly engage our sons in spiritual conversation. Here are 10 things you can teach your son while hunting.
1. God. This is huge and you have SO much material when you are outside and hunting. We don’t use creation near enough to point our sons to God. Teach your sons God made everything. Teach him how He made it (He spoke it into existence out of nothing, Gen 1-2). Amaze your son with the creativity and power of God through creation. “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. ” (Romans 1:20, ESV). Psalms 8, 19, and 139 are great texts on creation, use them!
2. Sin. I know you are saying, how can you get “sin” out of hunting and the outdoors? Here is an illustration, just a few day’s ago Isaac and I are riding the four wheeler to hang a deer stand. He gets hit with a sticker bush and gets several stickers in his arm. After a few minutes he ask’s me, “Dad, why did God make stickers?” As I was laughing he answered his own question, “Because Adam and Eve sinned and God gave them thorns.” And by the way he is right, we have stickers because of sin…“thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. ” (Genesis 3:18, ESV). You get my point, the consequences of sin are easy to find. Showing your son sin, opens the door to explaining the Gospel!
3. Discpleship. Have you ever thought about the fact discipling happens before and after conversion. To be a disciple means you are following in the footsteps of someone in order to be like them. Dads disciple your son to Jesus! If your son is not born again, the greatest gospel testimony you can give him is through your life. In fact you are the physical representation of Jesus (if you are born again) God intends your son to see! Teach your son to follow in your footsteps as you are a disciple of Jesus. Pray God would graciously save him and use your example to open his heart to the Gospel. Think about this as you spend time hunting, savor the opportunity to disciple your son to Jesus! I am reminded of this every time we are walking through the woods and I turn around and say, “come on Isaac follow me“. A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. ” (Luke 6:40, ESV)
4. Listening. Man oh man…..where do I begin. We live in a culture saturated with communication and information, yet it seems like the art of listening is DEAD. Christian Dads must teach their sons the discipline of listening. This will be critical as they develop spiritual disciplines as they grow older. As you teach your son about safety and how to hunt they will have to listen, be patient and help them learn this. What a great opportunity to use the environment of hunting to teach your son what it means to listen, not just for animals or to Dad, but to others and for God. “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” ” (Isaiah 6:8, ESV)
5. Purpose. What better way to teach your son they were created for a purpose, “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” than through His glorious creation. Watching the sun set or the sun rise, seeing a deer, duck, or turkey, observing the beauty of fall or snow, looking at a full moon on the way home…God created the earth and all it contains for His Glory! God’s word tells that He made Adam and Eve after His own image, we are special and created for a purpose, to glorify God! This begins by repenting of our sin and receiving Jesus as our LORD. “I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. ” (Psalm 86:12, ESV); “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” ” (Isaiah 43:7, ESV); “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)
6. Reading. I know that this only applies as your son is able to read, but hunting is a great opportunity to model and teach your son about reading. Research tells us fewer and fewer people read anymore, the number of boys is incredibly low. We live in an internet based society where you can find what you want without having to read the entire book. This has killed our culture and our young men. I do some of my best reading while hunting. Dads use hunting to teach your son to read. If your son is old enough pick a book or two that you want to read during hunting season and talk about it. Read Christian biographies, Christian Adventure, Spiritual Growth books or the Bible. I usually read at least 3 books during hunting season, I can’t wait until Isaac and I take up the challenge together. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ” (Romans 12:1–2, ESV)
7. Role. Taking your son hunting is a right of passage and an opportunity to model biblical manhood. Has there ever been a day where we need more men who model biblical manhood and are the Christ-like leaders of their home, than today? We have a new age range called “perpetual adolesence”, boys never grow up into young men. We have boys who grow up with an overly-bonded mother wound because they never broke away from mom and entered manhood. We have feminized young men, because they never did manly things with Dad and have been overly influenced by women their entire life. Hunting and the outdoors is not about making your son into a redneck brute, it is about teaching and modeling manhood characteristics and lifestyle. Hunting and the outdoors is a great platform to teach your son about what it means to be a “Christ-like Man”. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. ” (1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)
8. Obedience. This is probably one of the greatest areas of conviction and growth I have experienced in hunting over the last 10 years. I was not raised to respect hunting laws or officials, which I regret. Therefore, learning and obeying laws was never important for me and I could find a way to justify just about anything. I remember vividly one of my first hunts with Isaac, and the Holy Spirit was convicting me that I could not continue to “halfway” obey the hunting laws. Partial obedience is “disobedience”. I knew I would never have a leg to stand on when teaching Isaac about obedience and following God, if I could not obey and follow the law. I also knew my disobedience was sin, and repented. You can teach your son so much about God, His standard, and HIs Son Jesus; through modeling, following, and teaching your son the law. “And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22, ESV); “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. ” (Galatians 3:24, ESV)
9. Character. “Character is doing the right thing even when no one is looking“. Hunting and the outdoors gives Dads more ammunition than you could shoot through a machine gun for developing character. I could write page after page about the conversations Isaac and I have had about honor, integrity, and character while we have been hunting. From what we hunt, to when we hunt, to how we hunt; the opportunities are endless from my sons questions to teach him about character. Dads don’t miss this opportunity, and just in case you need a reminder, ”you won’t teach your son something you are not living“. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him… ” (2 Chronicles 16:9, ESV); “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. ” (Proverbs 28:1, ESV)
10. Gospel. Last but not least you have time to sink deep roots into your son through hunting and the outdoors. Nothing spells love like “TIME”. Spending time enjoying God’s creation and teaching your son about God, sin, and His son Jesus is what I call “sharing the Gospel as you live life.” Certainly we need to be constantly verbally explaining and telling our kids about the good news of the Gospel, but have you ever thought about how much we “tell” our children? Have you ever thought for a moment you were raised being “told” your whole life. Go back to my first two verses in Joshua, God told the people, “When your children ask, then tell them….” Dads, hunting and the outdoors is a great environment to lead our sons to ask the right questions. May we lead them to ask about the “good news” of Jesus. “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” ” (John 3:1–8, ESV
the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event: the advent of television.
• ( Advent )the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.
• ( Advent )Christian Theology the coming or second coming of Christ.
Family Worship- Family Worship is the regular and intentional gathering of a household to praise God together. -Tony Kummer, Ministry-To-Children.com Permission granted to make copies for non-commercial use.
regular = consistent, habitual, normal
intentional = planned, deliberate, on purpose
gathering = coming together, meeting, assembly
household = family unit, everyone living in your home
praise = worship, expressing love, showing value, glorifying
10 Principles for Family Devotion - adapted from Tony Kummer, Ministry-To-Children.com Permission granted to make copies for non-commercial use.
1. Worship is about God. Family devotions are when you meet with God as a family. Don’t let the details hide the big point – you are gathering together to hear from God and respond to Him in love.
2. Make it important. You can make family devotions a regular and joyful part of your home life, but you must make it a priority. Don’t let time pressures rob your family of the eternal treasure of knowing God.
3. Keep it short. For most families, 15 minutes several times each week will work well. As your children mature, devotion time will naturally become longer. But regular short meetings are better than occasional long meetings.
4. Make it fun. Everyone should look forward to family devotion time. Use role-playing to act out Bible stories, or invent motions to accompany the singing.
5. Use songs that teach. Not all songs are equal in learning value. Choose songs that tell about the character of God and incorporate Bible verses. (Seeds Worship-Itunes)
6. Same time, same place. Getting into a pattern (or habit) will make family devotions a normal part of your home.
7. Learn as you go. Experience will become your teacher. Since every family is different, you will need to discover what pattern of family worship best fits your home life.
8. Use variety in prayer. Alternate who leads prayer, or ask the children to pray aloud in turn. You can even have the children copy aloud after you as you pray.
9. Avoid distractions. Turn off the television and remove toys from the area. If you have small children, an illustrated story Bible will help retain their attention.
10. Everyone participating, head of household leading. Whoever is head of the house should lead if in a single parent home or absent father home. Otherwise, Father’s should lead with Everyone Participating.
Objectives for Every Family Concerning the Gospel and Christmas.
1. Teach clearly the Biblical story of Christmas and the Doctrinal meaning of Christmas.
Old Testament Prophecies: Isaiah 9:6–7 (ESV)
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
New Testament Narrative (Luke 2): Luke 2:8–11 (ESV)
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Doctrinal Emphasis (Incarnation): Philippians 2:6–8 (ESV)
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
2. Recognize the Worldview of materialism and consumerism; Beware of The Law of Unintended Consequences.
consumerism: the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods.
3. Model the example of Jesus and serve.
Philippians 2:4–5 (ESV)
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
John 13:13–15 (ESV)
13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
In our current culture of Gospel-Centeredness (which you will see I am all for below) achievement and goals are almost frowned upon. Some have co-opted a do-nothing, lazy, and passionless phrase "resting" in the Gospel; in place of an active, courageous, and passionate biblical Gospel-Centeredness. Jonathan Edwards was known for his 70 resolutions, but his own words remind us that they were not by his strength or for his glory...
During the first week of December my family and I will take our annual goal setting and planning retreat. This year we are taking three days to reflect, repent, and refocus. Joy and I will reflect on our goals and plans from 2014 and set goals individually and as a family for 2015. This will be the fifth year we have made a commitment to set goals as a family, and to say it has changed our marriage and life would be an understatement.
First, I want to encourage you to read a book that really transformed my thoughts about what it meant to love God, lead my family, and live the Gospel. The premise in this book has become the foundation and filter for so much of my life. It would be well worth your time to pick up a copy and read Gospel Coach by Scott Thomas and Tom Wood.
Second, spend some time reflecting on how you are evaluating growth for yourself and your family. How do you measure what you can't manage? Is there a tangible way to see the fruit of the Gospel in your life and leadership? Paul talked about how the Gospel was productive, proficient, and powerful in the life of believers, “Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,” -(Colossians 1:5–6, ESV) If you are in Christ, you should be bearing and increasing in the fruit of the Gospel.
Finally, make sure you don't confuse goal setting with performance. Goal setting should be Gospel-Centered. Your goals are not to define your value and worth, your identity is in Christ. If you are in Christ you are already approved, forgiven, and accepted. There is no way we can set a "goal" for God to love us any more than He already does. We do not perform our way into pleasing God. Personal and family goals are a way to grow in Christ and manifest His kingdom here on earth, in your life and the life of your family. Through Gospel-Centered goals we aim to display the rule and reign of Christ in and through our lives.
There are three primary areas I believe every christian should set goals in; loving God, leading your family (or leading well if you are un-married), and living the gospel. Each year Joy and I set goals that flow out of these three spheres of life. This is a great way for us to stay focused on spiritual disciplines, cultivate a healthy family, and live out the kingdom mission. This has become one of the most beneficial ways Joy and I have grown together in marriage. Joy has said, that for us, it has been the difference between "surviving" and "thriving".
Here are three results of goal setting we have identified:
1. Communication- Joy and I have cultivated some great communication during these times. I am amazed at how much closer we become when we stop long enough to listen and talk to each other about our family and life.
2. Prioritizing- There are 168 hours in a week. If you sleep 8 hours a day that leaves you 112. What are your priorities? You will either AGONIZE or PRIORITIZE! Joy and I finally realized we simply could not do everything. Prioritizing our values and time changed our lives.
- Everything cannot be a priority. You can’t have it all.
- Everything should not be a priority. All things are not created equal.
- Some activities and investments are more important than others.
- Some activities and investments are more lasting than others.
3. Growth- Joy and I will celebrate 13 years of marriage at the end of December. Unlike many marriages, we did not start out well and we certainly were not growing in Christ as a couple. By God's grace, we have seen our greatest growth over the past six years. It was during this time Joy and I began intentionally setting goals for ourselves and family in the area of loving God, leading our family, and living the gospel.
Gospel Life Plan Resources: Interactive Gospel Life Plan Documents (Examples & Blanks)
God is at work here in New Orleans and we are excited about the opportunity for gospel multiplication through church planting, here in one of the most unreached and broken cities in North America. We have a vision to plant over 100 churches in the next 10 years, in order to accomplish this task we need prayer and partners! New Orleans has long been called the “The City That Care Forgot”; we believe that gospel multiplication and church planting can change that to “The City That God Transformed!”
Ministry in New Orleans demands long term, strategic partnerships. We are praying that God would continue raising up pastors and churches to embrace New Orleans as a key part of their national mission strategy. Our goal is to mobilize multiple partner churches with every church plant here in the city.
We are here to help your church mobilize through prayer, participation, and/or provision. By God’s grace in 2014 we will see 10 new works start here in New Orleans, and we are praying to start 10 more in 2015! To accomplish this we will need to mobilize 50 churches to partner with incoming and current planters, will your church join us?
There are tremendous opportunities to partner in God’s kingdom mission to evangelize the lost, disciple the saved, and plant multiplying churches that will impact New Orleans and the world. Please let us know if we can serve your church in any way.
Here are some great informational resources about SEND New Orleans and an invitation to “Like” us on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter.
NEXT CATCH THE VISON TOUR:
One of the blessings of my job is celebrating what God is doing through church planting in New Orleans at our Local Strategy Team Meetings. We have two LST Meetings each year, where our team of pastors, planters, and denominational leaders (NAMB, NOBA, LBC) come to hear and see how God is working to bring gospel transformation and multiplication to our city.
Here is the SEND New Orleans vision statement and below are some pictures and contact links for our newest planters. Take a moment and pray for these gospel warriors who have stepped out on faith to start a new work here in one of the most unreached areas of North America.
Churches plant churches, and if I can ever serve your church in a mission partnership here in New Orleans do not hesitate to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since joining NAMB I have been invited to preach and speak at several "Global Impact Conferences". What is a Global Impact Conference you may ask? A Global Impact Conference is a strategic and intentional calendared event in the local church for the purpose of exposing, engaging, and involving the body of Christ to local, regional, and international missions. My experience reflects a correlation between a defined missions strategy and churches that make hosting a Global Impact Conference a priority. Here are 5 reasons why I think every church should host a Global Impact Conference.
1. It has never been a better time. We are in one of the most exciting periods of Southern Baptist missions history I have known. The North American Mission Board is having incredible kingdom impact in North America under the leadership of Dr. Ezell and with newly elected President of the International MIssion Board, David Platt, I for one am excited about the future! This a great time to educate your church about the mission agencies of the the Southern Baptist Convention.
2. Millennials will GO! Millennials are the largest generation in history of America. If you have not heard, they want to be challenged with the impossible. What better way to challenge this current generation of young people who are saying "Here Am I, Send Me." A Global Impact Conference will expose millennials to unprecedented lostness and unbelievable opportunities to engage the world with the gospel. My prayer is that we will not look back on this willing generation of young people and regret not equipping them to go.
3. It is an opportunity to clarify. Does your church "know" what is happening in your missions ministries? I often hear pastors struggling with "being all over the map" in their missions strategy, unable to communicate a clear vision for the church to embrace. When people do not understand or participate in your vision, there is usually a problem with communication and passion. A Global Impact Conference is a great opportunity to bring clarity to your entire church concerning your mission vision, strategy, and passion.
4. We need everyday missionaries. A Global Impact Conference is not just about calling people to go somewhere to do missions. It should involve the challenge to be an "Everyday Missionary". We are living in an increasingly post christian culture, the time to recognize we are missionaries in our own country is now, the harvest is indeed plentiful.
5. It is an opportunity to host missionaries. Implementation of a Global Mission Conference varies, but hosting missionaries is a key component. As I sit here and type, I am humbled as I reflect on the missionaries God has used to shape my life. At the joint IMB and NAMB Missionary Commissioning this past June, I heard numerous appointees share how God used a missionary's story to confirm their call. What a blessing it is for a local church to share in God's global agenda through hosting local, regional, and international missionaries.
6. The local church is God's agent to carry the gospel to the nations. Mission agencies like the IMB and NAMB are resources for the local church. God has called the local church to go and make disciples of all nations, this cannot be overstated. A Global Impact Conference reinforces and communicates that reaching the world is not something we pay or pray for someone else to do, it is what we are to do.
Sunday (June 8th) our family will participate in the joint commissioning service with 100 NAMB and IMB Missionaries at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Baltimore. (Your invited to watch this service live at 4pm EST) We are so grateful for this opportunity. Just over 6 months ago our family embraced God's call to be a kingdom family and join the North American Mission Board as SEND Missionaries in New Orleans, LA. We have never been more excited about the opportunity to glorify Christ and manifest His Kingdom.
Without the Cooperative Program this would not be possible. Our ministry efforts and kingdom impact are because of faithful local churches across the SBC that believe we can do more together than alone. Having served in the pastorate for over 20 years, I recognize the sacrifice churches make when they give a portion of their budget to the cooperative program, and I am thankful for those that continue to make it a priority.
There is much talk today about the decline of the Cooperative Program and the uncertainty of its future. Local Church Cooperation has been the catalyst to create the greatest missions sending agency in the history of Christianity, and although our resources have been in steady decline, I for one find reason for optimism. Never before has there been such a passionate generation of young christians who are zealous to advance the gospel. This certainly is not the time to give up on a proven means to support and send missionaries across the street and around the world.
Over the last six months, I have been able to preach in many different Southern Baptist Churches, my first sentence is the same on every occasion, "Thank you for giving to the Cooperative Program, I am your missionary in New Orleans, LA." No doubt there needs to be discussions about how to stem the tide of decreased giving, but for today my family and I just want to say, "Thank You."
Discipleship is one of the most talked about church planting topics. There is no shortage of strategies, methods, theories, and pronouncements on the subject. With so much written and talked about, we still have a glaring weakness when it comes to gospel multiplication through reproducible discipleship.
There are three questions I am constantly asking church planters? 1. What is a disciple? 2. What is your reproducible strategy for making disciples? 3. How is your reproducible strategy working?
At the very least you should be able to answer these questions and evaluate to some degree the effectiveness of your strategy. Jim Putman in Real Life Discipleship defines a disciple as someone who is intentionally following Jesus with their head, heart, and hands. Some will find this too simplistic; personally I love it and use it with my family. All of my children can articulate what it means to be a disciple from this definition.
Church planting is a result of making disciples in the New Testament. The gospel was proclaimed and demonstrated, people were converted and discipled, and churches were birthed. Which means if we are not making disciples, were not really planting New Testament churches. Here are four foundational principles for making disciples, or Discipleship 101.
1. Discipleship must be Intentional.
Jesus was intentional about who he called, how he taught, what he said and where he went. His ministry of discipleship had a strategic beginning and a missional ending. For three years Jesus prepared his disciples to carry on his ministry after he was gone. We cannot and will not make disciples that impact the world and fulfill the great commission without being intentional. Disciple making is deliberate and purposeful, someone must intend to do it. What is your long term vision and short term goals for disciple making?
2. Discipleship will be Relational.
In the New Testament we overlook on the most obvious principles of discipleship, relationships. The ministry of Jesus and ministry of the early church flourishes through relationships and hospitality. From the relationships of fisherman and families, to the hospitality of Martha and Mary; discipleship in the early church revolved around being relational. We see the impact of the gospel through relationships and hospitality when Peter the Jew, goes and dines with Cornelius the Gentile. Truths we preach from the pulpit find their greatest application in the context relationships.
3. Discipleship must be Reproducible.
Are you making disciples who make disciples? It is a question we must ask, even if we don't like the answer. I believe the most effective way to grow disciples is through regular systematic expositional preaching of the Bible. However, I have seen too many congregants who gush about the sermon and the preacher, but have never discipled one person. Is your preaching ministry growing a church of disciples who make disciples? If not, either your preaching and teaching is not as good as you think or your preaching and life are disconnected from an intentional reproducible strategy for making disciples. Pastors who model disciple making will have members who practice disciple making.
4. Discipleship will be Fruitful.
Paul writes in Colossians 1:5-6,
If we really believe the gospel is the power unto salvation, we can trust that it will be fruitful in the lives of those who are saved as they are discipled into maturity. The gospel will bear fruit, it will increase, that is the promise of the new birth. This is why we must begin all discipleship by teaching clearly on the gospel. A reproducible discipleship strategy that takes God at his word will rely and rest in the power of the gospel for fruitful discipleship.
I had the privilege to plant and pastor a multiplying, gospel-centered, and disciple making local church. The last nine years of my life were devoted to seeing a gospel-centered local church birth in the religious culture of of the bible belt south. Approximately half of our membership joined by baptism, which was a testimony of conversion growth and the power of the gospel at ground zero of churched culture.
I can honestly say it was the most difficult and rewarding experience I have ever undertaken. When I am asked by new planters to talk about what to do, I alway's respond by telling them, let me tell you what not to do first. As with any journey, hindsight is always 20/20, we see clearly looking back. Here are 5 Lessons, in no particular order, I learned during my church planting journey:
1. Be Patient not Impulsive.
Most, not all:) church planters are naturally impatient. The last years of planting were the most enjoyable for me, just because I grew in patience. If you think you have to (fill in the blank with whatever scenario), it would probably be wise to wait. God is sovereign and your patience is a testimony to that reality.
It is easy for a passionate leader to confuse impulsive leadership with spiritual leadership.
2. Be a Shepherd not a Driver.
Shepherds know, feed, lead, and protect the sheep. Jesus call's us to shepherd the flock until he returns. Your personality can never be an excuse to not shepherd. I always see bedouin shepherds when leading trips to Israel. I have never seen a shepherd driving sheep, he is alway's leading them. If your shepherding doesn't look like Jesus, your following the wrong shepherd.
Cattle are driven; sheep are led; and our Lord compares His people to sheep, not to cattle. - A.W. Tozer
3. Be Teachable, not a Know-It-All.
The older I get, I feel the less I know. I am so grateful for men who invested in me, even when I wasn't very teachable. I learned this 20 years ago from Howard Hendricks in"Teaching To Change Lives". He made a statement in that book I have always kept in front of me, "If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow", leaders will be learners. I am reminded daily, that my journey as a leader, husband, and father is a display of the gospel as I am teachable and grow in Christ. John Maxwell, suggest 10 questions to determine, if you are really teachable:
- Am I open to other people’s ideas?
- Do I listen more than I talk?
- Am I open to changing my opinion based on new information?
- Do I readily admit when I am wrong?
- Do I observe before acting on a situation?
- Do I ask questions?
- Am I willing to ask a question that will expose my ignorance?
- Am I open to doing things in a way I haven’t done before?
- Am I willing to ask for directions?
- Do I act defensive when criticized, or do I listen openly for truth?
4. Be Accountable not An Authoritarian.
As a called pastor, you have derived authority from the Lord Jesus Himself. In His sovereign pattern He has placed pastors in position's of authority to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. The danger happens when we misuse our derived authority and become passive aggressive authoratarians. The only way authority is not abused is when it submits to authentic accountability. Who has permission to tell you no or stop? Who has permission to adjust your self-perception?
“shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:2–3, ESV)
5. Share the gospel personally, as much as you Talk about the gospel publicly.
I have never been more convicted about my lack of of evangelism than right now. Yes, I shared my faith during my planting years; but more often than not it was circumstantial evangelism, not what I would call intentional evangelism. Moving to New Orleans has been an eye opener! The needs and lostness here are overwhelming and the only hope for New Orleans is the good news of Jesus. In truth there was great lostness where I planted and pastored, but my context made it easier to talk about evangelism than be an evangelist. Share the gospel personally as much as you talk about the gospel publicly.
“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” -Charles H. Spurgeon
Joy is manifestation of the rule and reign of Jesus in the life of a Christian. A kingdom family should manifest joy. Peter writes, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” (1 Peter 1:8, ESV) Peter’s audience was discouraged by the persecution they were encountering, but he challenges them to manifest inexpressible joy in spite of their circumstances.
Inexpressible joy does not describe many of the Christian families I encounter these days. As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, “We have given the impression that to be a Christian means to be miserable." Christians should be the most joyful people on the planet. When we are joyless we harm our witness to the world and impact our legacy with our family. Demonstrating joy in a fallen world is one of the greatest testimonies of Christ living in you. Here are 4 practical applications for leaving a legacy of joy.
1. Prioritize your passion.
When we have misguided passions and misplaced priorities we find ourselves void of joy. Families become whirlwinds of busyness trying to find their joy in the pursuit of empty idols. Scott Thomas writes, “We discover what our idols are by asking what gives our life meaning, worth, and value.” What do your priorities and passions say about where you get meaning, worth, and value? Many families are joyless because they have misguided passions and misplaced priorities. Prioritize wisely.
2. Choose love.
Bitterness, hurt, anger, hate, and the like, steal our joy and infect our families. Sometimes we just have to make up our mind that the most Christ-like action we can take in a circumstance is to choose to love. When we choose love we are crucifying our flesh and relying on the Spirit. We manifest joy when we are walking in the Spirit and choose love.
3. Cultivate contentment.
When I reflect on my marriage over the last 12 years, some of the most miserable times occurred when we were not practicing contentment. Because we allowed all our wants to become needs it affected our finances. My wife would agree we were not a joy filled family. Today our family is totally debt-free, we are renting and do not even have a house payment! There is a marked difference in the joyfulness we exhibit and experience as a family, when we are practicing contentment.
4. Grow in the gospel.
Paul celebrates the Christians in Colossae’s growth in the gospel, Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,” (Colossians 1:5–6, ESV) You are growing in the gospel when you are repenting and bearing fruit. A fruit of growing in the gospel will be the manifestation of joy as we lead our families.
Prioritizing our passions, choosing love, cultivating contentment, and growing in the gospel will lay a strong foundation for a legacy of joy in your family.