Month: September 2016

Speak Life Over Your Kids

This is a repost from a blog I wrote a few years ago, but it reminded me why I wrote the book, Speak Life

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it, will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

It seemed the moment I became a dad, well meaning people warned me of a turbulent time that lay ahead. Pam and I would introduce our wobbly toddlers to people and inevitably they would say something like this, “Enjoy them now, because one day they will be teenagers.” With a plethora of proof, these older adults would raise the flag of impending doom for the seven-year period that was ahead for our two kiddos.

Pam and I never believed them, though. We started telling ourselves that our teenagers were going to be a great joy to us just as they were when we took them home from the hospital after adopting them both. These harbingers of gloom apparently forgot that babies and toddlers were challenging in their own right. Late night feedings, exploding diapers, vomit on carpet, and tantrums at Wal-Mart could not be the best of times, right?

So, we inched toward the ‘terrible teen” years with guarded hope that we were right and the negative parenting prophets were wrong. We were right. Our two teens did not transform into sub-human droids of destruction when they turned 13. Puberty was not the apocalypse, after all.

Now, before you dismiss me as the pastor painting his kids as perfect, allow me to digress. Our kids are normal and they are teenagers, which is indeed, possible. Our kids test the boundaries of our rules, like your kids. Our kids would rather gorge on junk food than healthier options, like your kids. Our kids do not like early morning school routines, like most other kids. Our kids have spiritual questions and even doubts, like most other kids.

Pam and I could write volumes on what we have learned NOT to do as parents, but one thing we have done well is not believe that our teenagers would be problems without solutions. Every stage of parenting is a challenge that requires more prayer than we think, more wisdom than we can muster, and tons of patience. We have leaned into godly mentors as often as possible and we have certainly paid attention to what our kids watch and listen to in the public media.

We have worked diligently at guarding their innocence, guided them toward life -giving relationships and helped them to see the wonder of the local church, not just its brokenness. We have also realized that our kids will have to make their own choices and some of them may not be best. It is not easy to put your kids into situations where their critical thinking is tested. It is much easier to calibrate robots and send them off into an uncertain world with pre-programmed software.

I wish parenting teens was that simple. Instead, it is a lot like skydiving. We have one chance to get it right and we sure hope it works out. What we speak about our kids before ever leaving the tarmac will go a long way, though, in deciding if there is a safe landing in our future. Speak life now over your toddlers, and when they are teens, they may actually give life back to you.

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Why Did I Write Another Book?

Words are central in the story of God as told to us in the Scriptures. God spoke and the world was created. God spoke to Abraham and he ventured off to a new land, full of faith, hope and fear. God spoke to Moses and he returned to his haunted past and led millions across a parted sea and miles of desert. God spoke and a teenager named David charged across an open field to liberate Israel from an oppressive giant.

I could continue, but it is clear in our Bible stories that God is a speaking God trying to communicate to his people. In turn, we learn how to speak to others. When this goes well, our lives are healed and blessed, but when it goes wrong, we’re pierced and wounded, sometimes irreparably. Words can heal and words can crush. I wrote this book because I want to get this right and having a published book holds me accountable.

If you will take a few hours and journey with me through Speak Life, you will find help in the four conversations we have every day:

1. The conversation between you and God

2. The conversation between you and yourself

3. The conversation between you and our enemy

4. The conversation between you and others

All four of these conversations can be found in Luke 3 and Luke 4. In the book, I explain the barriers we all face in hearing God clearly and regularly. I explain how insidious insecurities cloud our prophetic imaginations and keep us at arm’s length from God’s embrace. You will learn how forgiveness invites God into our lives and how prophecy sounds a lot like love.

Every book is birthed not from a solitary soul, but from a community committed to its message. This work took a community committed to hearing God, and speaking words that heal.

I’m thankful for my wife, Pam, who is my single greatest source of encouragement. You cheer for me even when the crowds are silent.

Thanks to my two teenagers, Abram and Callie. When you call me “dad,” my heart leaps.

I wrote this for my parents, Leland and Pat. You told me I would be okay, and I believed you, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. You spoke life to me, and for that I am grateful.

I wrote this for the great team of leaders at New Life Church. You are a joy to serve alongside and your words to me are life.

Most of all, I am grateful to Jesus, who calls me a son and a friend. Your words have saved me.



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