Ezra tells an Easy Rabbit Story

Easy Rabbit, Leaving a Mark

cropped-easy-rabbit-horizontal.jpgImagine three children nestled into their bed’s. Mommy and Daddy are there with the youngest. His name is Ezra. He is fun-loving, imaginative, and surprisingly articulate for a two year old boy. He says that he wants to tell us a bedtime story about Easy Rabbit, a lovable bunny who lives in a hole with his family and adventures into the woods with all of the woodland creatures. Naturally we all agree. I grab my phone so that we can capture this moment. I love stories and this one just entered my top ten of all time!

Ezra tells us the story of a rabbit, a skunk, and a four-wheeler. Here is your first taste of Easy Rabbit from the mouth of a two year old. Remember that you are listening to a two year old – give it some time!

Sing the Bible with Slugs and Bugs, Volume 2!!!

Leaving a Mark

Sing the Bible Volume 2Is it okay for me to listen to my kids music in the car all alone when my kids are far, far away from me? Absolutely! But, only if that music is one of the albums by Slugs & Bugs.

Randall Goodgame, the creative force behind Slugs & Bugs has accomplished something incredible by doing for music what C.S. Lewis and A.A. Milne did for literature and what Pixar did for film. He has recorded music that is enjoyable for kids and equally enjoyable bigger kids (adults). The whole family can enjoy his music together travelling down the road in the mini-van, cleaning the playroom, or during family worship. Mom and Dad, feel free to listen alone without any guilt. It’s ok. I promise. No seriously, you can turn it up louder. Don’t even worry about that car beside you giving you strange looks. It is completely normal for a grown adult human to sing at the top of their lungs about Mexican Food or Bears.

For his last two albums, Randall Goodgame has written and recorded scripture to music. What a gift to have the precious words of Scripture joined with quality music echoing through your home and the hearts and minds of you and your children. My two-year old can quote scripture. Yep, you heard that right. It’s crazy.

Sing the Bible Volume 2 will be released on March 18th, 2016. The theme of the album is a Musical Handbook for the Christian Home. It features scripture from Isaiah 40 (Do You Not Know), Matthew 5 (Let Your Light Shine), Ephesians 2:8-10 (Masterpiece), The Ten Commandments, and much more.  The fourteen songs on this album could quite possible represent more scripture than you have ever memorized up to this point in you life. Just think of the possibility of sharing that with your children. King David wrote, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11).” Perhaps you have been searching for ways to “store up” scripture in your heart, Sing the Bible Volume 1 and 2 will help set you on this path.  

Sing the Bible Volume 2 is not just an album that you will want to buy for yourself. You will want to buy multiple copies and give them away to your friends, family, and strangers who have children (well, maybe you should introduce yourself to them and then shortly after that you can hand them a CD).
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Dads helping out at Slugs & Bugs LIVE!

If you live in the Statesville, NC metropolitan and surrounding areas, Slugs & Bugs LIVE! is coming on Friday, March 18th. Yes that is the same day Sing the Bible Volume 2 releases. You can find out more information and reserve free tickets for you and your family at www.westernavenue.org/slugsbugs. If you are reading this and know of anyone who would enjoy Slugs & Bugs Music or Slugs & Bugs LIVE!, please pass this along to them.
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Slugs & Bugs LIVE! is interactive for the whole family

To learn more about Slugs & Bugs news and music at www.slugsandbugs.com
To sign up Slugs & Bugs newsletter, (The Slugs & Bugs Bacon) visit www.slugsandbugs.com/the-bacon/ 
To purchase Sing the Bible Volume 1, visit Slugs & Bugs store!

 

Just Give it Time

Hope, Leaving a Mark, Parent

I was sitting in High School Bible Study and the teacher asked this question: “Who do you turn to when things are going crazy in your life? When you need advice?” Some students answered friends, adults, or Google. Then the teacher asked, “What about your parents? Do you ever go to your parents?” There was some muttering in the room so I raised my hand and said, “Yes, I turn to my parents.” Everyone over the age of twenty in the room was in full agreement with me. We all had reached an age where we know something that our teenage friends haven’t learned yet.

It seems that somewhere between the age of twelve and fourteen, aliens come and abduct our children. They implant an inhibitor chip deep within their brains. For the next five to seven years teenagers think that their parents are embarrassing, stupid, and absolutely out of touch with reality. Most think that anyone else in the entire world has more skill, more wisdom, and better answers than their parents.

Parents, in the middle of those teenage years there will likely come a time when you may be convinced that you are dumb. You might even catch yourself thinking,”Maybe all the teenagers are right. Maybe it isn’t them. Maybe it is me who lost my mind. Maybe I have lost my grip on reality. Maybe I don’t really understand what it is like.” Fight that temptation. Slap yourself in the face or get someone else to do it for you. Don’t fall for that trickery. Just pull out an old journal or think back on your high school days. You will remember quickly that you were a teenager and that you do understand.

Then somewhere around age twenty to twenty-two, that inhibitor chip miraculously disappears or is somehow reabsorbed into the bloodstream. All of a sudden, parents have all the answers. They know what to do when you get in a wreck or the car breaks down. They know what to do when your boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with you. They know what to say to calm your nerves when you have a big interview for your dream job. They know how to help you cope with a child who will not sleep and they even take that child for a night or two so that you can sleep. They know how to have a good conversation. They have wisdom and good words of advice. They are still parents, but they are much more than that.

But for now, the struggle is real. I want to encourage you to stay the course. Continue to love your children. Care for them. Seek what is best for them. Don’t mortgage your child’s future because you want to be their best friend. Discipline them if they need it. Encourage them when they need it. Laugh with them when they need it. Cry with them when they need it. Pray with them and for them because they will always need that.

Don’t just batten down the hatches and weather the storm of the teenage years. Step on deck, look that storm in the face, and say give me all you’ve got. Be that stalwart consistency that your son or daughter needs when the turbulent winds of Middle School assail them. Be that safe haven of refuge they need in High School when they feel like everyone is out to get them. Love them with the love that only Christ can give you.

Teach them His word and his statutes. Rebuke them when they sin. Correct them when they have strayed off of the path. Teach them how to follow Christ. Train them in righteousness. So that as they grow they will be servants of God who are thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

And always remember this: It is only time that separates them from turning to you for help, answers, and friendship.

I’ll Come Back

Discipleship, Faith, Leaving a Mark, Uncategorized

For the last several months, my son has wanted to go to school.  I know this is unusual and in about 5-10 years, this will not be his sentiment toward school. But, as of now I think it is pretty cool.  I want him to be a young man who is inquisitive and wants to learn.  So far, he has lived up to this desire of mine.  He is bright, and he surprises me often with the amount of things that he can remember and recall.  I know that most every three-year-old is little sponges, soaking up everything they see, hear, touch, taste, smell.  He has an incredible imagination and he makes me laugh often. I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying these first years.

Next week, he will begin pre-school.  It is only for two days a week, and only a few hours a day. But, this is a big step for us as a family and him as a young boy. I know that parents have been sending their children to pre-school for years, and for some this is no big deal. But, for me this is huge. He will be in a place where he will have to make decisions for himself. He will have to be alone in some things.  He will not have mommy and daddy right beside him, telling him what to do every minute of the day. I know he will have good teachers and good guidance,but it won’t be me.

This is the first time that I have really released my son into the world. I can tell that he is excited to go.  But, I am a little hesitant. My desire is to keep him close, protect him, make decisions for him, and watch over him. But, I know my job and my responsibility as a parent is to launch him into the world. He is only three, and he still has many years under my watch.

My only prayer is this: “God, may I be a man after your heart who desires to know you and make you known.  May my life be an accurate reflection of who you are so that my son will know you. Give me wisdom to prepare him for the obstacles that he will face.”

My highest priority is for my son to know Christ and follow him.  If he is a great athlete and a follower of Christ, praise God. If he is a great writer and a follower of Christ, praise God. If he is a great musician and a follower of Christ, praise God. If he does none of these things yet is a follower of Christ, praise God.

In our last conversation about going to school, I asked him if he was excited about going to school.  HE said that he was very excited.  I asked him why he didn’t want to stay with his mommy anymore. He looked at me very matter-of-factly and said, “I’ll come back.”

I like this. I know that whatever happens in his life, I will always be his dad. I know he is going to make mistakes and bad decisions. I know he will fail and take the wrong paths. But, want to show him the roads to follow, the paths to take, the way of following Christ. I want to show him this so that when he is on his own he will know the way home. Wherever, he goes, he will know how to come back.

One of my favorite artists wrote a song about this very thing.  I think it is fitting to end this post with “You’ll Find Your Way” by Andrew Peterson.

Summer Family Time

Leaving a Mark, Uncategorized

I am just stepping into the world of parenting real people (I know babies are real people, but now that they can walk, talk, and think for themselves the task is going to a whole new level). There are many things that I want to do with my children and there are many things that I want to teach them.

I want to teach them to love God, his people, and his creation. But, I understand I need help.  This is why that I am always on the lookout for great resources.

The Village Church in Dallas has put together a Summer Family Activity Book to help families follow the model laid out in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. .From the website:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you sit up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

We have put the Summer Family Activity Book together with this charge in mind. Whether you’re hanging out at home, traveling across the country or running errands around town, there is no shortage of opportunities to help your children see the things of the Lord. Our hope is to help you see and take advantage of these moments.

The activities and devotionals in this resource have been divided into four sections to follow the model of Deuteronomy 6:

  • Set a Rhythm. These are activities your family can do repeatedly and consistently throughout the summer. Some of them will help you put things in place to establish a routine for your family. Others will help you think about ways to be missional – intentionally connecting with people in your community whom you interact with on a consistent basis.
  • At Home. These are activities that can be easily done as you spend time at home. Many of them include a devotional at the end that will help your kids make a connection between what they have done and a truth from Scripture.
  • Out and About. This section provides ways to be intentional with outings you take as a family.
  • On the Way. These are activities that can be done as your family travels – whether you’re moving about by land, air or sea.

I encourage you to download this activity book and try to implement it into your family life this summer. May your summer be a great time for you as a family to grow closer to Jesus and to each other.

Visit the Village Church page: http://www.thevillagechurch.net/the-village-blog/summer-family-activity-book/

A Lover of Books, a Lover of God

Books, Leaving a Mark, Uncategorized

In April, I went to a conference in Louisville focused on the power of the gospel. Besides worshiping with over 7,000 people and hearing the Word of God correctly handled and boldly preached, one of the things I was looking forward to most about the conference was the books that would be given away. Over the last several years, I have become a collector of books.

Not all of them are great books. Some of the books that I have accumulated really should have never been published. It really is a wonder sometimes to see some of the books that get published. Do people read this stuff? I guess they do because people keep writing them, and publishers keep publishing them.

I have grown to love reading. I would rather read in my spare time than do pretty much anything else. I usually read with a pen in hand so that I can comment on pages, underline things that I want to go back and record for future use, or make notes that will help me to remember what I have read. It is still taking time for me to get over my contempt for writing in books. However, thanks to Lit! by Tony Reinke, I am learning to get over it. Although, I still have a deep conviction that pages in books should never be dog eared! This one I will never get over.

I can only hope that my children will one acquire this love for books that I have grown into through the years. I have tried to surround them with books. We read together before naps and bedtime. One day I look forward to reading The Chronicles of Narnia or the Lord of the Rings trilogy with them. But until then, The Poky Little Puppy will have to do. Knox has begun to enjoy this Bible before bedtime. Reading this is always one of the highlights of my day.

I have a bad habit of leaving any book that I am reading on the coffee table in our living room. I also usually leave the pen with it. My son, Knox, is just the right height to reach the pen and the book. Recently, I have begun to notice that in all the books that I am reading, all kinds of great artwork is beginning to appear. The haphazard lines look to be drawn by tiny little hands and fingers that lack fine motor skills.

The first time this happened, I was tempted to get mad. I could not figure out why anyone would scribble such wild and insanely unintelligible things inside a good book. Then I realized that Knox was two years old. This seemed to be a satisfactory explanation. But as I began to think again on why he would do such a thing, it hit me that he was only doing what he had seen me do time and time again. I have spent countless evenings laying with him in his bed as he drifts of to sleep. A lot of these nights I grab a book and a pen. He falls asleep with the lights on, while I work my way through various texts. He watches me as I underline and make notes in the margin. All those times that I thought he was drifting off to sleep, he was watching. All those times I thought I was simply killing two birds with one stone (putting a child to sleep and getting some reading done) I was really teaching him about something that was important to me.

So, when my mom was keeping him and informed me that he was writing in my books, I could not get mad at him or scold him. I had to tell my mom that he was only doing what he had seen me do multiple times.

Children are fast learners. Early in their lives and throughout their childhood, they will learn what is important to their parents. Because of this it is crucial that parents model things for their children that are important. I am thankful that my parents did this for me. My childhood wasn’t perfect, but I learned many things from my parents that I did not even realize that I was learning. I learned that family was important. I learned that church was important. I learned that the Bible was important. They would probably tell you that they would have done many things differently in raising my brothers and me, but I am thankful that God used them to teach me about who He is.

I can only hope and pray that the Lord is as gracious to my two children as he has been to me. I pray that they would put their faith in Jesus Christ and follow after Him. I pray that their identity, their pleasure, and their hope would be found in Christ alone. I also realize that the Lord has given me the incredible task and amazing privilege to teach them about who he is.

I do not care if my children are the greatest athletes, smartest students, or talented musicians. My strongest desire for them is that they are lovers of Jesus Christ.

Parents, if you say with your mouth that loving God and being a part of a church is important, but you spend a majority of your Sundays during the year on a field or in a gymnasium somewhere, your children will learn what is important. When the field or the gymnasium is out of their lives, it’s a pretty good bet that the God you talked about and the church you occasionally attended will not be much of a priority. We cannot only try to teach with our mouths, we must also teach with our actions.

Your children are learning from you. What are you teaching them?

Some good resources:
1. “5 Ways to Make Your Kids Hate Church”

2. Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley

3. “The Duties of Parents” by JC Ryle –