Sunday, November 23, 2014

The best parenting advice I've ever received

Being a parent is tough work. It's a 24/7 job that never ends. And it's hard enough without us making it harder on ourselves. But that's what a lot of parents do. They make parenting way more physically and emotionally painful than it has to be.


I'm familiar with this because I tend to do it to myself. When it comes to raising my kids, I complicate and confuse things with my own ego and attitude. And at first I didn't even realize I was doing it. But fortunately for me, I got a great piece of advice when I was just getting started that has made all the difference.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

An update on the guy who sent my daughter a naughty text

If young men need one thing, aside from knowing they've been made with painstaking care in God's image, it's direct personal guidance from older men who have the experience they're after. When young men don't get this guidance, they tend to unwittingly go looking in the wrong place for it. That's when they turn to things like drugs, alcohol, degrading sex, porn, anger, violence, gangs, etc. They fill their lives with that stuff. And it's the reason we live in a country where 40% of children born today are going home without a father.

photo courtesy of Garry Knight at Flickr.com
It's not pretty to think about, especially when the solution is mind numbingly simple. All that young men need in order to get their lives back on track is enough pain to know they need to change, and a living example of a better life. Let me explain.

It's in the past
About 6 months ago, I posted about a conversation I had with a young man, in my church's youth group, who sent a naughty text to my daughter. I gave him a very direct and very blunt warning about respecting women. I told him that, if he didn't learn to respect other people, and specifically women, he was going to end up alone.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My wife and I had a big fight, and she put all marriage books to shame. Here's the definitive guide to solving marital strife!

The other day Allison and I had a little dispute. And when I say 'little dispute', I mean a fight. Lots of couples say they don't fight, but just because no one is yelling doesn't mean you're not fighting. Still many married people say, "we don't fight, we just disagree." That almost always means that they're newly married or lying. The truth is, nearly all married couples fight.


And that's what happened the other night with Allison and me. We didn't yell at each other and nobody threw anything, but it was pretty heated and it was about sex so you know it was a good one. 

Anyway, what was impressive wasn't the fight, but the way Allison responded to it. We've gone to marriage conferences, read books on marriage, and conflict. I even wrote an ebook on conflict... that you can get for free when you subscribe to my blog ;). But the way Allison responded to our little tiff the other day put all the conferences and books to shame. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Don't let big moments slip through the cracks... also probably the worst harmonizing you've ever heard [Video]

"The truth is, you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed."  - Eminem
In 2011, I graduated from Arizona Christian University with a degree in Music. Today I make my living by leading people in singing at church. There's just one problem, and this is not something I like to admit, I'm terrible at harmonizing. In fact, I do just about whatever I can to avoid it.

Photo courtesy of my beautiful wife Allison, who requires no recognition but deserves tons.
But just now, as I sat down to read a really great book, my 16 year old daughter plopped down next to me with her guitar and big bright puppy eyes. And I wasn't about to say no - even if I was scared.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Men, here's why settling down never ever means you're just settling.

We've all seen this before. A guy is having a conversation with his friends, and from the distance comes the voice of his wife, "Honey, will you come here?" He looks at the other guys with sad eyes, as if to say 'help me', and then walks away. After he's gone, his friends stand around and each make a jab at their emasculated buddy for being whipped.

Photo courtesy of Nathan Congleton at Flickr.com

Among young men today, there's a common mindset that goes like this: Marriage is the end of fun. 
And once I settle down, I'll be settling for a boring life. Now, most guys won't come right out and say that, but it's what they're thinking. And the numbers prove it.

A study from the Barna Group shows that marriage is on the decline among young people. In 2008, only 84% of Christians tied the knot, while 74% of non-Christian faith members got married, and only 65% of atheists and agnostics got married.

There are a slew of reasons that people are putting off and even avoiding marriage all-together. But not the least among them is the above mentioned mindset that says marriage is settling for less than the best.

And with that understanding of marriage, many of those same guys eventually get married. And in the end, it's what they don't understand that kills their marriage. And what they don't understand is this: it's impossible to settle in marriage. Let me explain.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My kid renounced her faith, here's how I responded (SPOILER: it wasn't by screaming myself horse, though it crossed my mind).

Disclaimer: I always check with my family before I air our business over the internet. I asked Alura if I could share this with you, and she was all like, "I don't care", which is teenager for yes. 
One of the best parts of raising kids is watching and helping them grow. The first step, first word and first romance are just a few of the rewarding times that we parents get to come along side our kids and guide and direct them.


Coincidentally, one of the most difficult parts of raising kids is watching them grow up. There comes a season in every kid's life where they've had a lot of their firsts. It's a time where they begin to want and even need to step out from under our guidance and direction to make their own decisions. Sometimes it's exciting, but the rest of the time it can be flat out terrifying - like the time Alura told Allison and I she's not a Christian anymore.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Crushing this seemingly innocent, but actually super evil attitude in my life. Join me.

When I first started working at Moon Valley Bible Church, my boss was this guy named David. He was a really bright church leader, who taught me a really important lesson. When it came to preparing for Sunday morning, he would say, "We're going to prepare as if 20,000 people are coming this Sunday." Then he led by example. And each week he would work his tail off to make everything about Sunday morning excellent. 

Photo courtesy of Morgan at Flickr.com
After a while, I picked up on David's attitude. I started working harder to plan ahead, and I began paying closer attention to details. Before long, preparation became part of my routine. And it felt great. 

A slippery slope
But fast forward a few years, and things have changed. Allison and I have another child, my role at the church has increased significantly and... I'm older and slightly worse for the wear. But most notably, that sense of hard work to make things great isn't as strong as it was. It slipped away so slowly I didn't even notice it.