Breaking Free

Thoughts, True Freedom, Walking in the New Nature
If you were to take a poll of your friends and relatives, what phrase would they most associate with the word "Christian"?  Would it be keeping the rules...religious...being a good person...hypocrite...or something else?  Getting it down to one phrase, I think something about "keeping the rules" is one of the world's most common associations with Christianity. But if you read the New Testament, the basis for our Christian faith, I think a better word association is "FREEDOM".  Christianity is all about freedom.  The powerful connection between Christianity and freedom - so clearly explained in Scripture - is often missed by a world under the enemy's control and a church stuck in our rule-making ways.  Why is this so? From the world's viewpoint, they have no interest in accurately portraying one of…
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Finding a Balance…Wrap-up

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Well, here we are at the end of our Work-Family-Ministry Balance series.  Thank you for your interest and comments.  By God's gift, this was and is our own family identity.  These are not theories that belong in a book or ideas that we never actually got around to.  No, this was and is the fabric of our family life. So let me close with a few reminders from our last few weeks together. Reviewing our chart above, remember... The time commitments on the left side are going to be "squeezed" when children join our family. We can't let these "squeezed" areas go to zero. If our time as a couple goes to zero in these busy children years, there will be no spark, no flame, no fire, no romance when…
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Perfection Is Not The Goal…Consistency Is

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
For the past few weeks, I have been sharing material from a presentation I give on finding a Work-Family-Ministry balance.  One of the habits I stressed in the spiritual training of our children section was reading the Bible and praying as a family.  In fact, it was so important to Rhonda and I that our goal was to do this every day.  When I make this presentation to a group, I always close with this question to make my concluding point, "You have only known me for about 45 minutes.  But based on what I have shared and hearing this talk, if our goal was to read the Bible every day as a family and this is considered 100%, what percentage do you think we actually accomplished?  If every day…
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We Are In This Together

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Last post, I closed with the thought that we husbands need to show our wives by our actions that we are in this child investment effort together.  As dads, we can be big talkers about how important our family is to us.  But our wives know the real deal.  They know if we are serious about our claims.  And they know by our actions, not just our words, whether we truly are in this thing together. Let me give a small example of what this "showing by our actions" looks like.  Several years ago, I became the Exploration Manager for the Houston office of a small oil company headquartered in New Orleans.  My management position involved not only many video conferences with the main office, but several trips to New Orleans…
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Starting, Quitting, and Pitching In

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Kevin Leman, in his book Home Court Advantage, has an excellent chapter on work.  He writes, "Your quitting time at work is your starting time at home."  Have you ever made this connection?  Your quitting time at work is literally your starting time for what is arguably your more important job; leading and serving your family.  Therefore, when it comes to work, we need to be just as punctual about our quitting time as we are about our starting time.  Think with me about what this looks like in practice. How many of us would show up an hour late to work and say to our boss, "You know, my wife and I just had SO MUCH to talk about this morning.  We needed to hammer down some plans for…
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You Are Indispensable at Home

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
I began this set of posts on balancing family, work, and ministry with a diagram to summarize our time commitments.  We covered the various time categories that get "squeezed" when children join the mix.  We also talked about the time we invest in our families.  We emphasized that family time is not babysitting or childcare; it is investing in our children's future and our legacy. Let's wrap up our discussion with a few thoughts about work.  It is easy to find our significance in our work.  I think this is especially true if we feel unqualified or uncomfortable on the home front.  But rest assured, God has qualified and gifted you to be a success as a husband and father.  Everything you were given at your new birth - a…
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Love Trumps Knowledge (again)

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Finally, we invest in our children when we teach and model the concept that love trumps knowledge.  Paul writes in I Corinthians 8:1, "Knowledge puffs up, love builds up."  Or in another translation, "Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies."  Paul could not be more direct.  When the apostle expounds on the topic again in I Corinthians chapter 13, he explains that knowledge without love is useless.  According to Scripture, knowledge without love is of no value whatsoever! This prominent message of the New Testament has tremendous implications in your family and in your community of believers.  In our legitimate quest to get things right, we can forget the love.  In our effort to get our kids to fly right, we can damage the relationship with a lack of love.  In our search for…
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Affirm, Affirm, Affirm

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Oops, I see that I skipped 29 ways to affirm your children.  Let me make it succinct:  Affirm, affirm, affirm your kids.  Affirm them for their gifts.  Affirm them for their personalities.  Affirm them for their spiritual interest and maturity.  The essence of Christian child-training is celebrating our children for who they are while at the same time spurring them on to greater development and maturity. Now parents sometimes wonder, "Will Junior take advantage of all this affirmation?"  In my mind, it works a lot like grace.  Legalists worry that too much emphasis on grace in our practice and teaching will somehow lead believers to take advantage of God's gift.  But I see it as just the opposite. The more I know and experience of God's grace, the more I…
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