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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another Chilling Precedent: A Court Undermines a Parent

Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
source: CrossWalk


A recent court decision in Canada should send chills down every parent's spine. The ruling is so out of bounds that the news story sounds like a parody -- but it isn't. A Canadian judge ruled that a 12-year-old girl was "excessively" punished when her father told her she could not go on a school camping trip because she had broken rules for use of the Internet.


As the Globe and Mail [Toronto] reports:

First, the father banned his 12-year-old daughter from going online after she posted photos of herself on a dating site. Then she allegedly had a row with her stepmother, so the father said his girl couldn't go on a school trip.

The girl took the matter to the court - and won what lawyers say was an unprecedented judgment.

Madam Justice Suzanne Tessier of the Quebec Superior Court ruled on Friday that the father couldn't discipline his daughter by barring her from the school trip.

This judge needs to be grounded and sent to her room. A 12-year-old girl violated rules and disobeyed her father. The rules, by the way, were intended to protect the girl from endangering herself on the Internet. In posting pictures of herself on the Internet -- on a dating site, for crying out loud -- she defied her father and his authority. After going to the court, she got away with it.

For years, we have been warned that the courts were poised to usurp parental authority. We have seen chilling judicial precedents and the encroaching reach of bureaucrats and government agents. Warnings were offered by prophets like Philip Reiff and Christopher Lasch, who saw the family being stripped of its functions and replaced by an army of eager agents. Parents are supplanted by professionals who are "experts" in raising other people's children.  

The Canadian case is among the most chilling yet. The father is appealing the decision, even though the girl has already gone on the camping trip. The family is involved in a difficult divorce situation, but the father was granted custody. Gladly, outrage over the judge's ruling is building in Canada.

Lorne Gunter of Canada's National Post described the ruling as "sputteringly enraging." The Canadian blogosphere has taken notice, as have parents.

Gunter drew particular attention to the fact that the girl's attorney explained that she took the case to court because it involved the school trip: "For me that was really important."

Gunter responded:

"For me that was really important." So what? Just who are you? Are you the kid's parent? Are you a relative of any sort? No? So why, then, does your opinion matter? And if it does matter, how is court action appropriate? At most, even if you are a close relative, you are limited to calling up the dad and expressing your view that his punishment is over-the-top.

Ms. Fortin insists that while court was a last resort, the situation called for it: "This was not a question of going to the movies or not, or going online or not -- because obviously, I wouldn't have intervened in that."

Just how is that obvious? It should have been obvious that you don't go to court over missing the camping trip, either, but that doesn't seem to have dawned on Ms. Fortin. She called the trip a rite of passage. What will be the rite next time, a missed sleepover, her first out-of-town volleyball tournament with the school team?

The logic of this ruling is not limited to Canada. In 1970, Hillary Rodham, then a young lawyer (and later Sen. Hillary Clinton), wrote a law review article, "Children Under the Law," in which she argued that minors should be treated as "child citizens" who should, under at least some conditions, be able to challenge their parents in court over parental decisions.

This father may win his appeal -- we must hope that he does -- but the damage is already done. This 12-year-old girl has defied her father and been rewarded by a secular court. The judge and the court have now become complicit in the girl's disobedience. This father has had his rights as father denied and his authority undermined. We can only imagine the costs of this judicial malpractice in the life of this girl and her family. Beyond this, the precedent is now set for further judicial mischief.

America's parents had better look north and take notice. This judicial atrocity hits very close to home.

Discuss this topic in our Crosswalk Parenting forums.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to Send feedback to


Court says no to sensible parenting

Blatant state interference in father-daughter dispute sets dangerous precedent

Lorne Gunter ,  The Edmonton Journal

Published: Sunday, June 22, 2008

Before I get into the case of a Quebec father whose decision to ground his daughter was overturned by a court last week, I want to remind you about Vincent Duval.

Duval is the 31-year-old Belgian man who pleaded guilty Friday to using the Internet to strike up a relationship with a 13-year-old Montreal girl and lure her into meeting him for sex two weekends ago.
About eight months ago, Duval was cruising teen chat rooms on the Internet, as sexual predators do, when he met the young Montreal teen. After more than 3,000 e-mails exchanged between the pair (that's more than 12 a day), and a host of cellphone calls, Duval flew to Montreal earlier this month and invited his victim to meet with him in his hotel room.
That evening, the girl's parents reported her missing. Police read some of the e-mails Duval and the girl had traded, learned he was on his way to Montreal and began a search of the city's hotels.

On Saturday the 14th, officers found Duval and the teen in his room. They arrested him and returned her to her home.

To demonstrate how persistent and beguiling these predators can be, the girls' parents discovered her cellphone conversations with Duval in February. They called him in the middle of the night, Belgium time, and told him he must cease his contacts with their daughter. He agreed. But the very next day he and the girl resumed their e-mails.

This past Friday, Duval pleaded guilty to sexual touching and invitation to sexual touching. Crown prosecutor Nath-alie Fafard said the girl was spared having to have intercourse with the creep only because she was menstruating at the time of their meeting.

Duval also told police he had intended to take the 13-year-old to an Amish community in Ontario and live with her there where their relationship would be socially acceptable.

Now, consider the case of the Quebec father whose 12-year-old daughter took him to court after he grounded her from going on her Grade 6 class year-end camping trip.

This girl, too, was a frequent visitor of online chat rooms. Deeming some of them to be unsafe, the father barred her from accessing certain sites. She persisted. He imposed minor punishments and restricted her use of the computer. Finally, she began going to a friend's and using the friend's computer to access the prohibited sites. She even posted photos of herself on at least one of them, photos the father felt were "inappropriate" for a girl her age. That's when he barred her from the camping trip.

In a world full of Vincent Duvals, this hardly seems a harsh or unreasonable punishment. The grounded 12-year-old, likely without realizing it, was baiting sexual predators with her photos. Her father was only doing what most sensible parents would do.

But the girl didn't see it that way. Nor did her mother, who has been in a 10-year custody battle with the father.

Despite the fact the father has 100-per-cent custody, the girl went to live with her mother. However, when she and the mother learned the girl still needed the father's signature on the camping-trip permission form -- and the father, rightly, wouldn't give it --they convinced the court-appointed lawyer who has been handling the custody case to haul the father before a judge.
The remarkable thing is that Quebec Justice Suzanne Tessier agreed to hear the case at all. This is none of the court's business. The judge should have thrown it out immediately and reprimanded the lawyer, Lucie Fortin, for even dreaming to waste the court's time making family decisions.

It's not even clear on what grounds Justice Tessier thought the court had jurisdiction in the this matter. The father was not being abusive. His actions were neither illegal nor beyond the scope of his custody agreement.

Yet lawyer Fortin told Justice Tessier that the trip was a rite of passage, "something that would never happen again in the child's life." It was too important an event in her development to miss --and the judge bought the argument and intruded into private family decision-making in a way and to an extent it is hard to fathom.

Talk about judicial activism and arrogance.

Yes, I know the Liberals introduced their Tax Shift green plan this week. And yes, because the carbon tax contained in it is placed on producers rather than consumers, it amounts to a Tax Shaft for the Western provinces, where most of the producers are. I had planned to write about that because of its implications for the West's economy and national unity. (Quebec's hydro projects, for instance, would be exempt from the tax.)

But I believe this court decision is more dangerous.

The Liberals aren't in power. And with a tax plan like this it's hard to see how they'll get there. Their carbon tax, then, is moot.

But this Quebec case is real. If it is not overturned by Quebec's appeals court, it would make the state the final arbiter of even the most personal of decisions, not to mention undermining parental authority nationwide.

Now that's dangerous.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pay Attention to God's Presence

Whitney Hopler
source: CrossWalk

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Leighton Ford's new book, The Attentive Life: Discerning God's Presence in All Things, (InterVarsity Press, 2008).


God is always with you, yet in this busy world it's easy to become so distracted that you aren't aware of it. You can count on God's presence at all times and in all situations, since He pays close attention to you. However, God doesn't force His attentions upon you. He waits patiently, reaching out to you with love, eager for you to discover Him. To find Him, you must learn how to pay attention.


Here's how you can discover God's presence in deeper ways by learning how to pay attention:


Focus on what God is doing instead of what you're doing for Him. Become aware of what God is up to in your life and seek to cooperate with that work, rather than making your own plans and asking Him to bless them. Pattern your life on Jesus rather than your inner compulsions or outer expectations. Every day, invite God to transform you to become more like Jesus. Pursue what God wants for your life by basing your decisions on His guidance, and you'll discover much more about Him in the process.


Develop the qualities of attentiveness. Ask God to help you: be fully present in each moment, study something long enough to learn something new about it, look at something familiar with a fresh perspective, be available, be aware, wait with expectancy, be mindful, and be wakeful. Make it your goal to see God in all things, and all things in God.


Learn from your spiritual steppingstones. Make some time in a quiet place to recall any major events or relationships that had a deep spiritual influence on you. Try to recall not just the outward circumstances, but the inner meaning it had for you. Use a piece of paper to draw a circle for each one, and write a few words in each circle to describe what you recall. Thank God for each of the steppingstones. Study them to learn in which areas you need more insight and growth.


Get enough sleep. It's hard to pay attention when you're sleep deprived. But when you're well rested, you're able to concentrate well and are likely to notice much more of what God is doing in your life. Change your schedule to make getting enough sleep each night a high priority. Keep in mind that sleep is also a spiritual exercise, because it's an expression of trust -- resting in the knowledge that you don't need to try to control your life, and that God will care for you at all times, including while you're completely unconscious.


Devote your first thoughts of each day to God. When you first wake up each day, turn your thoughts immediately toward God and pray simply that during the day to come, God would open your eyes to His presence in new and deeper ways. Then -- even if you just have a brief amount of time -- spend some time listening to what the Holy Spirit may have to say to you for each new day.


Seek a fresh perspective. Ask God to help you look at life from His perspective -- at any time (not just special times), anywhere (not just in certain places) and toward anyone (not just particular people). Pray whenever you need help looking beyond your own limited view.


Abide in Christ. Decide every day that you will listen for Jesus' guidance and respond to it with obedience motivated by love. Make a habit of listening first to Jesus' words rather than your own needs and desires, then responding in the ways that best show your love for Him.


Notice those in need around you. Strike a healthy balance between paying attention to God and paying attention to the people in need who He wants you to serve. Be prepared to love God by answering His call to help others whenever He leads you to do so. Pray to be able to see whoever you meet with Jesus' eyes and do whatever work you do as if you had Jesus' hands. Expect that, as you serve, you'll become aware of the realities in which you're immersed but were previously unaware.


Stop hurrying. The pressure of being in a hurry prevents you from being able to pay attention to anything well. Make whatever changes you need to make to your schedule so you can slow your life down to a healthy pace. Sort out what's truly important from what's urgent, and focus on important tasks as much as possible to cut down on unnecessary busyness. Do more than just reduce your activities, though -- refocus your heart. Notice what God is doing through you, and rest assured at the end of each day that if you've done your best for God, that's more than enough.


Read Scripture for transformation, not just information. When you read the Bible, invite God to use what you read to change your life. Pay close attention to what you read and carefully consider how you should respond to it. Try the ancient practice of Lectio Divina ("divine reading") when you read the Bible. First, read a passage aloud several times, asking "What does it say?". Then reflect on the text (or even just a word or phrase from it) to ask "What does it say to me?". Pray your response back to God. Then rest in the presence of God, who stands behind the text.


Learn from interruptions. Realize that interruptions are more than mere annoyances; they're often opportunities to learn something valuable. The next time your plans are interrupted, ask God to show you how He wants to use that interruption to change your thinking, and even the direction of your life.


Overcome barriers to attentiveness. Fatigue, apathy, worry, and fears can all prevent you from paying attention. Overcome them by admitting your humanness and brokenness, embracing the grace God offers you, and trusting Him in deeper ways. For example, if you're too tired, it's usually because you've tried to do too much yourself and need to rely on God's strength more. And if you're afraid, it's usually because you haven't trusted God's love enough.


Be still. Regularly reflect on Psalm 46:10, in which God says, "Be still, and know that I am God." Let this Scripture bring peace to your soul. In a peaceful state, you can do more than just "know" many things partially, as you do when you simply gather information in a busy world. Relying on God's peace to pay attention well, you can know one thing at time -- deeply. Don't mistake the flow of adrenaline for the moving of the Holy Spirit. Remember that what counts isn't what you're doing for God, but what God is doing in and through you. While you're still, you can be moving into the fullness of what God has in mind for you.


Let the darkness help you see the light. Don't try to avoid the suffering and challenges that come your way. Instead, venture into the darkness of the unknown, trusting God to help you every step of the way. Let the mysteries you experience motivate you to pursue God more. Grieve your losses and learn from your mistakes. Remember that hard times can usher in transformation and new life. Write a list of some of the dark times in your life. Then, beside each one you've listed, write something about how God revealed more about Himself and what gifts He gave you through that time. Guard your heart from being weighed down by negative emotions like anger and doubt. When you experience a negative emotion, ask yourself what prompted it. See if you can identify the particular need or longing behind it. Then remind yourself that only God can truly meet that need or longing, and give that emotion over to God, trusting Him to care for you. Then just turn your attention to what He leads you to do next.


Rest to find freedom. Rest can be much more than just time for leisure or sleeping. Ask God to help you use your times of rest to experience more of the freedom He wants you to enjoy -- the freedom to trust, work, create, play, let go, and move on into the dreams God has for you. While you rest, invite God to unburden you of regrets about the past and anxious thoughts about the future. Enjoy resting with God right now. Practice centering prayer to direct your attention toward God with you in the present. Set aside one or two times a day (such as right after waking up and right before going to sleep) to wait quietly in God's presence, listening for however He may direct you.


Examine your soul. At the end of each day, think about more than just what you did or didn't get done; consider what values you've pursued. Think about what the way you've used your time shows about your relationship with God and the type of person you're becoming. Ask yourself questions like these: "What I am most and least grateful about today?", "Where did I sense God most today?", "Where did I miss Him?", "Where was I most fulfilled?" "Where was I most drained?", "Where was I the happiest?" and "Where was I the saddest?".  As you examine your soul, pay close attention to what God teaches you.


Adapted from The Attentive Life: Discerning God's Presence in All Things, copyright 2008 by Leighton Ford. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill.,
Leighton Ford heads Leighton Ford Ministries, which seeks to help young leaders worldwide to lead more like Jesus and more to Jesus. For many years, Ford communicated Christ around the globe through speaking, writing and media outreach. He describes his current mission to be "an artist of the soul and a friend on the journey." He is the author of Transforming Leadership.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Today I Taught My Child

source: Web
Today I Taught My Child


When I got mad today and hit my child

"For his own good, " I reconciled,

and then I realized my plight...

Today, I taught my child to fight.


When interrupted by the phone,

I said, "tell them I'm not home."

And then I thought, and had to sigh...

Today I taught my child to lie.


I told the tax man what I made,

forgetting cash that was paid,

And than I blushed at this sad feat...

Today I taught my child to cheat.


I smugly copied a cassette,

To keep me from one more debt,

But now the bells of shame must peal...

Today I taught my child to steal.


Today I cursed another race,

Oh God, protect what I debase,

for now, I fear it is too late...

Today I taught my child to hate.


By my example, children learn

That I must lead in life's sojourn

In such a way they are led

By what is done and not what is said.


Today I gave my child his due

By praise for him instead of rue.

And now I have begun to guide;

Today I gave my child pride.


I now have reconciled and paid

to IRS all that I have made.

And now I know that this dear youth,

Today has learned from me the truth.


The alms I give are not for show,

And yet, this child must surely know

That charity is worth the price:

Today he saw my sacrifice.


I clasp within a warm embrace

My neighbor of another race.

The great commandment from up above.

Today I taught my child to love.


Someday my child must face alone

This fearsome undertone,

But I have blazed a sure pathway:

Today I taught my child to pray.

Father's Day: Miscellaneous FAther Quotes

Choose good ones for your bulletin this Sunday :) Found this at a website, forgot exact site address though.
Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy!!
Fathers Day Quote by: Philip Whitmore Snr

"The most important thing a father can do
for his children is to love their mother."
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

Fathers are angels sent from heaven.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

Fathers, be good to your daughters. You are the god and the weight of her world.
Fathers Day Quote by: John Mayor

"Father I will always be
that same boy who stood by the sea
and watched you tower over me
now I'm older I wanna be the same as you"
Fathers Day Quote by: Yellowcard

A father is someone that
holds your hand at the fair
makes sure you do what your mother says
holds back your hair when you are sick
brushes that hair when it is tangled because mother is too busy
lets you eat ice cream for breakfast
but only when mother is away
he walks you down the aisle
and tells you everythings gonna be ok
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
Fathers Day Quote by: Jim Valvano

I've had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started.
Fathers Day Quote by: Bartrand Hubbard

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
Fathers Day Quote by: Clarence Budington Kelland

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say,
"You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising
boys." Fathers Day Quote by: Harmon Killebrew

One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters.
Fathers Day Quote by: George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.
Fathers Day Quote by: Bill Cosby

Henry James once defined life as that predicament which precedes death, and certainly nobody owes you a debt of honor or gratitude for getting him into that predicament. But a child does owe his father a debt, if Dad, having gotten him into this peck of trouble, takes off his coat and buckles down to the job of showing his son how best to crash through it.
Fathers Day Quote by: Clarence Budington Kelland

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again.
Fathers Day Quote by: Enid Bagnold

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.
Fathers Day Quote by: Johann Schiller

A father carries pictures where his money used to be.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!
Fathers Day Quote by: Lydia M. Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
Fathers Day Quote by: Mark Twain, "Old Times on the Mississippi" Atlantic Monthly, 1874

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.
Fathers Day Quote by: Gloria Naylor

It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.
Fathers Day Quote by: Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day
should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge.
Fathers Day Quote by: Phyllis Diller

Are we not like two volumes of one book?
Fathers Day Quote by: Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.
Fathers Day Quote by: Red Buttons

I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich.
Fathers Day Quote by: M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.
Fathers Day Quote by: Dinah Craik

Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.
Fathers Day Quote by: Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
Fathers Day Quote by: Clarence Budington Kelland

A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.
Fathers Day Quote by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

As fathers commonly go, it is seldom a misfortune to be fatherless; and considering the general run of sons, as seldom a misfortune to be childless.
Fathers Day Quote by: Lord Chesterfield

Don't make a baby if you can't be a father.
Fathers Day Quote by: National Urban League Slogan

Sons have always a rebellious wish to be disillusioned by that which charmed their fathers.
Fathers Day Quote by: Aldous Huxley

A man's desire for a son is usually nothing but the wish to duplicate himself in order that such a remarkable pattern may not be lost to the world.
Fathers Day Quote by: Helen Rowland

The worst misfortune that can happen to an ordinary man is to have an extraordinary father.
Fathers Day Quote by: Austin O'Malley

The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.
Fathers Day Quote by: Confucius

He who is taught to live upon little owes more to his father's wisdom than he who has a great deal left him does to his father's care.
Fathers Day Quote by: William Penn

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.
Fathers Day Quote by: Charles Wadworth

Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later...
Fathers Day Quote by: Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

When Charles first saw our child Mary, he said all the proper things for a new father. He looked upon the poor little red thing and blurted, "She's more beautiful than the Brooklyn Bridge."
Fathers Day Quote by: Helen Hayes

It is a wise father that knows his own child.
Fathers Day Quote by: William Shakespeare

The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.
Fathers Day Quote by: Confucius

Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development.
Fathers Day Quote by: David Gottesman

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
Fathers Day Quote by: Sigmund Freud

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.
Fathers Day Quote by: Jewish Proverb

I have never been a material girl. My father always told me never to love anything that cannot love you back.
Fathers Day Quote by: Imelda Marcos

You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You're her oracle. You're her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you're in a constant state of panic.
Fathers Day Quote by: Stanley T. Banks in the movie 'Father of the Bride'

There must always be a struggle between a father and son, while one aims at power and the other at independence.
Fathers Day Quote by: Samuel Johnson

My son, a perfect little boy of five years and three months, had ended his earthly life. You can never sympathize with me; you can never know how much of me such a young child can take away. A few weeks ago I accounted myself a very rich man, and now the poorest of all.
Fathers Day Quote by: Ralph Waldo Emerson, on the death of his son

A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.
Fathers Day Quote by: Knights of Pythagoras

"When a child is born, a father is born. A mother is born, too of course, but at least for her it's a gradual process. Body and soul, she has nine months to get used to what's happening. She becomes what's happening. But for even the best-prepared father, it happens all at once. On the other side of a plate-glass window, a nurse is holding up something roughly the size of a loaf of bread for him to see for the first time.
Fathers Day Quote by: Frederick Buechner, 'Whistling in the Dark'

I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work fifteen and sixteen hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.
Fathers Day Quote by: Mario Cuomo

My father was a statesman, I'm a political woman.
My father was a saint. I'm not.
Fathers Day Quote by: Indira Gandhi

My father was frightened of his mother. I was frightened of my father and I am damned well going to see to it that my children are frightened of me.
Fathers Day Quote by: King George V

4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

My father always used to say that when you die, if you've got five real friends, then you've had a great life.
Fathers Day Quote by: Lee Iacocca

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.
Fathers Day Quote by: Pope John XXIII

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys."
Fathers Day Quote by: Harmon Killebrew

Father, whom I murdered every night but one,
That one, when your death murdered me.
Fathers Day Quote by: Howard Moss, Elegy for My Father (l. 1-2)

Noble fathers have noble children.
Fathers Day Quote by: Euripides

Better to be driven out from among men than to be disliked of children.
Fathers Day Quote by: Richard Henry Dana

One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

If a son is uneducated, his dad is to blame.
Fathers Day Quote by: Chinese Proverb

When I was a kid, my father told me every day, 'You're the most wonderful boy in the world, and you can do anything you want to.'
Fathers Day Quote by: Jan Hutchins

I talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week.
Fathers Day Quote by: Mario Cuomo

My father died many years ago, and yet when something special happens to me, I talk to him secretly not really knowing whether he hears, but it makes me feel better to half believe it.
Fathers Day Quote by: Josefowitz

"Train up a child in the way which he should go
and when he is old he will not depart from it"
Fathers Day Quote by: Proverbs 22:6

Dads & Sons

Dads & Sons

by Dr. Ken Canfield


Your role is essential to your son's development into a man of God.


Powerful Insights into These Passionate Bonds

There's no question we love all of our children in unique ways. But there's also no question that we share something special, something deeper with our children of the same sex. The connection between dads and sons, moms and daughters is more complex and intimate than any other. These bonds are perhaps the most influential we ever experience—both as mothers and fathers and as the daughters and sons of our own parents. As you celebrate Father's Day, reflect on these distinctive relationships in your own life.


Imagine you're driving in the country with your teenage son. You pull the car over to the side of a deserted dirt road and turn off the ignition. "Dad, what's going on?" your son asks. You dangle the car keys in front of his face. "Son," you say, "why don't we trade places?"


Your son gets a look on his face—elation combined with fear. He gets behind the wheel, slips the car into gear, and both of your hearts race as you spin down the road.


You have communicated that you trust him with your car—not to mention your very life!


The importance of being there

It's a father's unique privilege to bring his son through various rites of passage. Maybe it's the Saturday morning you get him up early to go out to breakfast with you and your adult friends. Maybe it's the first time you let him stay home alone while you and your wife go out of town overnight. Or the first time you trust him with your credit card or your electric razor.


These are big moments for all boys, and as fathers we need to be there to share them. I suppose a driver's ed instructor could teach him to drive just as well. Another dad in the neighborhood could help him check the oil in the car or change his first tire. But there's something different, something special about a boy learning these things from his father.


A successful transition from boyhood to manhood calls for a father who will tap into his son's desire to understand the world, harness his boy's innate drive to compete, make the most of his son's creativity, and help his son develop discernment. Since we fathers were once boys ourselves, these essential traits don't surprise us. But they are a reminder of how fathers can cultivate character in our sons. Your role isn't just important to your son's development into a man of God, it's essential.


Creating a sense of wonder

Boys need a strong sense of curiosity. They need to develop their investigative capacities. The world is full of fascinating puzzles just waiting to be explored. You can help your son plumb the meaning of these puzzles by asking questions that will launch him on a journey of finding the truth at his own pace and in his own way. Ask him why the moon has phases, why moss grows on the north side of a tree or why manhole covers are round. It's not the questions themselves that build his character, but the wonderment and willingness to ask why that will help mold him into a man of depth.


Of course, there are some areas where we don't want our sons to find answers on their own—like sex and drugs. In these cases, fathers need to provide truthful answers and well-thought-out reasons for making godly choices. We can also use problem-solving techniques to help them think through likely results of unwise choices.


Harnessing the power of competition

The second trait a boy needs is healthy competition. Lessons are learned from aiming high and giving 100 percent in school, sports and other arenas. Both winning and losing will prepare him for the real world, and teach him not to settle for mediocrity.


A healthy, competitive spirit will even help him in his spiritual life, where he'll need to fight temptations to compromise and instead stand up for what he knows to be good and true.


This is often a delicate area for fathers and sons. The challenge is to raise boys who will strive for the best while knowing they are loved at their worst. We show them the unchanging nature of our love as we celebrate their achievements and patiently help them learn from their mistakes. We give them confidence to grow as we allow them to find their own abilities and the opportunities to hone them.


The value of creativity

Imagination is a wonderful childhood trait too many of us men have left behind. Now, I know imagination and creativity go against the stereotypical manly man, but the stereotype is just plain wrong. Healthy, godly men need creativity to be thoughtful husbands, sensitive fathers, successful entrepreneurs, pioneering researchers, caring pastors, and so on.


Tap into your son's imagination when he's young and you'll find it easy to follow his lead. Encourage your son's dreams and hopes. Give him time and space to explore all his brain can think up. Nurture your son's interests in more right-brained pursuits like art, music and writing and every part of his world will benefit.


Making responsible choices

A fourth trait to nurture in your son is discernment. A young man's discernment develops when his father honestly explains the specific blessings and consequences of life choices. Discussing character, leadership, faith and the impact of an attitude—both good and bad—will help a young man become a discerner and prepare him to take responsibility for his choices.


Unfortunately, most men live in denial. Their own fathers failed to point out the dead ends in life, the roads of selfishness, lying, cheating, addiction and immorality. One of the best safeguards for our sons is to humbly share our mistakes and failures. Doing so may be the best insurance against self-destructive habits you can acquire as your son enters the adolescent years. The truth should always be seasoned with love, which ultimately knits together the hearts of fathers and sons.


The value of a loving touch

Since we used to be boys, we have a natural companionship with our sons—we're often alike and we probably enjoy some of the same activities. Oddly enough, even though it's easy for us to be with our sons, it's still too often a distant relationship.


That was certainly the case in my own life. When I was a boy, I spent countless hours working with my father, but we never talked in a deep way and I have no memories of us ever embracing.

A professor of social work from the University of Michigan reports that sons of sensitive, affectionate fathers scored higher on intelligence tests and did better in school than children of colder, more distant fathers.


In a study of nurturance habits, the actions of fathers that best predicted their children's self-esteem were "physical affection" for girls and "sustained physical contact" for boys. It's expressed in slightly different ways, but both daughters and sons need their father's affection. In other words, our boys need hugs.


The secret might be to make hugging a habit when our sons are toddlers. What dad would find it awkward to give his 3-year-old son a hug? The tricky years start around 12. You may be tempted to settle for a pat on the back or a tousle of the hair as a means of communicating affection, and those can be great regular points of contact. But nothing beats a big, old-fashioned bear hug. It will mean more to your son than he can say.


Tonight, hug your son. Remember, once you've done it, it will be easier to hug him again a few days from now. Years from now—years that will pass in an instant—he'll be hugging his own children. And you will have given a great gift to your family for generations to come. J



Dr. Ken Canfield is president of the National Center for Fathering. He is the author of Spiritual Secrets of Faithful Fathers (Beacon Hill Press) and the father of five.

Copyright © 1999 by the author or Christianity Today International/Christian Parenting Today magazine. M/J 1999, Vol.11,#5.

Friday, June 13, 2008

15 Things I Have Learned from My Father

John Piper
Desiring God
source: CW

Since my father died on March 6 of last year, I have been looking through his papers. I found a small sheet with the following fifteen counsels, titled "Things I Have Learned." He didn't make most of these up. Some of them go back to his college days when he was absorbing the pithy wisdom of Bob Jones Senior. They have again confirmed the obvious: I owe my father more than I can ever remember. The comment after each one is mine.


I Have Learned

1. The right road always leads to the right place; therefore, get on the right road and go as far as you can on it.

My father was totally persuaded that wrong means do not lead to right ends. Or, more positively, he was persuaded that living in the right way — that is, doing the right things — are means that inevitably lead to where God wants us to be. This is why he told me, when I asked about God's leading in my life, "Son, keep the room clean where you are, and in God's time, the door to the next room will open."


2. There is only one thing to do about anything; that is the right thing. Do right.

This is what one might say to a person perplexed by a difficult situation whose outcome is unknown. The person might say, "I just don't know what to do about this." It is not useless to be told: Do the right thing. That may not tell you exactly which good thing to do, but it does clear the air and rule out a few dozen bad ideas.

3. Happiness is not found by looking for it. You stumble over happiness on the road to duty.

My, my, my. How was John Piper born from this? I would never say this. The main reason is that the Bible commands us to pursue our joy repeatedly. "Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice." "Delight yourself in the Lord." I think what he meant was: 1) Joy is always in something. Joy itself is not the something. So we seek joy in Christ. Not just joy in general. 2) When duty is hard and we do not feel joy in doing it, we should still do it, and pray that in the doing it the joy would be given. But what we need to make plain is that duty cannot be contrasted with joy, because joy is a biblical duty.

4. The door to success swings on the hinges of opposition.

Remarkably, this saying implies that opposition is not just a natural accompaniment or antecedent of success, but that it is a means by which the door opens. One can think of many biblical examples. The opposition of Joseph's brothers opened the door to his leadership in Egypt. The taxing of the empire opened the door to getting the Messiah born in Bethlehem, not Nazareth, and thus fulfilling prophecy. The betrayal of Judas opened the door to the salvation of the world.

5. God in the right place in my life fixes every other relationship of life (Matthew 6:33).

I wonder if this was tucked away in my mind so that unknown to me it controlled my analogy of the solar system to our many-faceted lives. If God is the blazing center of the solar system of our lives, then all the planets will be held in their proper orbit. But if not, everything goes awry.

6. It is never right to get the right thing in the wrong way — like good grades, wealth, power, position. Don't sacrifice your principles.

Again, he hammers away at don't use bad means for good ends. Be a principled, not a pragmatic, person. O how we need to hear this today. Churches need to be principled, not endlessly adapting to culture. Persons need to make a promise and keep it no matter how much it hurts.

7. It is a sin to do less than your best. It is wrong to do [merely] well.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). But be careful. Sometimes the "best" is a B+ sermon and spending time with your child. In other words, "best" always involves more decisions than the one you are making at the moment. That one means many other things are being left undone. So "best" is always the whole thing, not just the detail of the moment.

8. It is wrong to be yoked to one who refuses the yoke of Christ.

Don't marry an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:39). Not all relationships with unbelievers are ruled out. Otherwise we could not obey Jesus' command to love them and bless them. But "yoke" implies a connectedness that either governs where we go or constrains where they go. And you cannot constrain faith in Jesus. It is free.


9. The part of your character that is deficient is the part that needs attention.

This is the counterpoint to the advice: Go with your strengths. There is truth in both. Yes, be encouraged by every evidence of God's grace in your life, and use your gifts and graces for his glory. But you will become smug and vain if you do not keep your deficiencies before you and work on them.

10. Don't quit. Finish the job. God can't use a quitter.

Warning: "He who endures to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13). Promise: "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

11. Anything you do that hinders your progress for God is wrong.

O how thankful I am that this was the dominant way my father pressed me to pursue my sanctification. He did not mainly impose lists of don'ts on me, though we had them. And they were clear. Mainly he said: Maximize your progress in knowing and serving God. That ruled out a hundred foolish behaviors, some bad and some uselessly innocent.

12. Beware of any society in which you feel compelled to put a bushel over your testimony.

This implies that you can go into a group of people who are evil if you are willing to open your mouth and take a stand for Jesus and righteousness. Nevertheless, 1 Corinthians 15:33 stands: "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals.'"

13. It isn't enough to be good. Be good for something. The essence of Christianity is not a passionless purity.

This is what I have meant in talking about a merely avoidance ethic. Don't just think of righteousness or holiness in terms of what you avoid, but what you do. As my father said in another place: Don't be a don'ter; be a doer.

14. Positive living produces negative effect[s].

This is wise counsel that affirmation of the good always implies negation of the bad. If you think you can live your life without negating anything, you have lost touch with reality. "Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good" (Romans 12:9). You cannot love without hating what hurts the beloved.

15. Learn to be sweetly firm.

This was what he said to my mother over the phone when she was exasperated with her one disobedient son: Be sweet and firm. I think she succeeded.

With abiding and deep thankfulness for my father's wisdom,

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Five Stages of a Coaching Relationship

Learn what to expect, and how to react, as a small-group coach.
by Joel Comiskey
source: Christianity TOday
I'm sorry to say it, but no coaching relationship develops to perfect levels of openness and communication overnight. Instead, most coaches pass through predictable stages of highs and lows, which can be understood as a series of coaching stages. The following is a brief walk-through of those stages, including practical advice for growth.
The Romance Stage
My friend Trish told me that her husband, a doctor, was offered a prominent position at an upscale hospital in a different state. He turned it down. When they asked him why he wanted to stay at his Baltimore hospital, he responded, "I know the warts of this hospital. I don't know the problems over there."
For most endeavors in life, the grass really does look greener on the other side. Why? Because the brown spots are only visible up close. In the romance stage of a coaching relationship, everything is new, exciting, and green. The brown spots have not yet appeared. The cell leader is just starting out in a new adventure. She wants to win the world and multiply her cell in a few weeks. She thinks that you are the greatest coach in the world—that you can do no wrong. She's ready to drink in every word you say. Use this time to pour into your leader and prepare her for the stages to follow.

Advice for the romance stage:

  • Enjoy it for as long as possible. Don't try to hurry through it.

  • Take advantage of your leader's openness to receive homework assignments; teach as much as possible.

  • Go over your coaching relationship (e.g. how often you're going to meet, evaluations, confidentiality, expectations, and so on). Clearly remind the leader of the reality and resistance stages that will follow.

  • Help the leader count the cost. Remember that Jesus was constantly preparing the disciples for the tribulations that would follow.

The Reality Stage
Romance is normally followed by reality. Several members of the cell group aren't committed and don't attend each week. The leader invites five new people and no one shows up. The leader didn't think the results would be so sparse or that cell leadership would be so demanding.
Of course, the devil will do anything to foil a new leader. Peter says, "The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith" (1 Peter 5: 8–9a).
Advice for the reality stage:
  • Walk in grace. Love the leader. Lend a listening ear. Remind the leader that his reaction is a normal part of cell leadership.

  • Do something special with the cell leader that shows selfless love.

  • Gently remind the leader of the covenant commitment established in the first stage.

  • Continue to offer skills training to help perfect deficient areas. New skills provide new confidence.

The Resistance Stage
Some have called this the "I'm not sure if I can trust you" phase. The leader is seeing brown grass everywhere and might want to flee—perhaps to another church, another program, or to a vacation from ministry. Today, long-term commitment is rare. Why not spend my free time watching TV or some other less demanding activity? the cell leader might think. The temptation is always to live for self and do less for Jesus, not more. The leader might suddenly feel a knee-jerk reaction to leave. Go somewhere else. Anywhere. As long as it is away from you and the cell.
Some have called this time period a "dark night of the soul." This is where the coach will need to cry out to God for the life of the cell leader. I remember when two of my leaders entered this phase. One left my coaching network completely, while the other resisted me and even became emotionally angry.
The good news is that this time will draw you to your knees. You'll pray more fervently than you've ever prayed. You'll enter warfare prayer for your leader and the group under her charge. Hang in there. It's Friday, but Sunday is coming.
Advice for the resistance stage:
  • Pray fervently.

  • Walk in grace and truth. Ask permission to speak into the person's life.

  • Look for coachable moments. While in the romantic stage, the leader was open to receive information; now the leader is in the battle and might be more willing to apply that information.

Normally, the stage of resistance will move peacefully on to the resolve stage, but it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes the relationship with the leader will not work. As on cell leader has said: "No one wants to feel like they've failed. But the best course of action—and the most professional—in some cases is to end the relationship." Perhaps your personalities are totally different, or philosophically there is no connection. In such cases, trust the sovereignty of God. Don't feel like a failure. God is using the situation to guide and direct you.
The Resolve Stage
The great news is that persistence and staying the course normally ends in resolve. The cell leader has learned to trust in God. She has given more time to God and feels God's presence in her life in a new, exciting way. She is planning for long-term involvement in cell ministry.
The resistance stage will deepen the relationship between you and the leader. You will know traits of your leader you would never have known during the romantic stage, when everything was surreal and pleasant. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." You and your team of leaders will begin to behave more like a battle-proven army, rather than fresh recruits who have played simulator games. You've now been in the battle and your camaraderie is enhanced by it.
Advice during the resolve stage:
  • Take advantage of this time to deepen your relationship with the leader by confirming lessons learned in the trenches.

  • Prepare the leader for the time when he or she will coach and disciple new cell leaders.

  • Bask in the deepening friendship of hard fought battles.

You will mostly likely enjoy this phase. You'll feel a release of pressure. You'll sense a glimmer of hope. You'll feel an emotional resurgence. It's time to move on to the reward stage.
The Reward Stage
The reward is seeing the fruits of your labor. The gain comes after the pain. But it does come. The cell leader passed through the dark night of the soul. She weathered the storms and has a multiplication leader who has successfully given birth. You are now a coach with a grandchild and there is a sweet peace in your soul.
Coaching your own leader to successfully give birth to a new cell group is one of the greatest joys on earth. You'll feel like you truly are participating in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18–20).
Yet the greatest reward of all is to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ and to see his church strengthened because you have faithfully coached those who are coaching others. In a very real sense, you'll receive the same reward of the shepherd that Peter refers to: "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be … . And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away" (1 Peter 5:2–4).
—Joel Comiskey; excerpted from How to be a GREAT Cell Group Coach. Used with permission. Published by TOUCH Publications, Houston, Texas. 1-800-735-5865.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One Prayer God Loves to Answer

Austin Pryor
source: CW

"Lord, use me more!" What Christian doesn't want to come to the end of his or her life and know that theirs was a life well spent for God and His kingdom? But give thought to how you pray, my friends. Yes, it's a wonderful prayer because it shows your heart is pointed in the direction of God's glory. But it can also be a dangerous prayer--to make us more usable God doesn't make us stronger, He makes us weaker.  


God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.... Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord'" (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).


God doesn't use the strong. He uses the weak and the lowly. That may be what we're inviting into our lives when we pray, "Lord, use me more!" He wants us dependent on Him, not on our strengths, our talents, our experiences.


Did you ever stop to think that when Moses thought he was usable (Exodus 2:11-15), he wasn't. And when he thought he wasn't, he was. After 40 years out of the spotlight, God decided Moses was usable. When He called on Moses to serve Him, Moses offered nothing but excuses: I'm nobody (Exodus 3:11), I have no authority (3:13),


I'm not persuasive (4:1), I have no speaking skills (4:10), and I'd just rather not do it (4:13). He was inadequate for the task and knew it, just the kind of man God was looking for.


Flash forward a few thousand years. In the early 1980s, I was enjoying success as a money manager. I was active in several parachurch ministries and frequently gave my testimony at evangelistic outreaches. I was able to give to the Lord's work. The "abundant life" was good. When I prayed, "Lord, use me more" I wanted more of the same. But in order to greatly multiply my usefulness, the Lord didn't give me more of the same. First, He had to give me more of something else--weakness, humility, dependency. He took me through many trials where I learned in new ways that God's strength is made perfect in weakness. It was a desert experience that lasted for several years. (For the story of my desert adventures, see Chapter 30 in my book.)


In 1990, circumstances seemed to indicate that the Lord was leading me to begin the Sound Mind Investing newsletter. As often is the case when the Lord is taking you into new areas of trusting Him, the circumstances were not promising. I had no subscribers. I had no experience in publishing. I had nothing in my background that suggested I could make a living with my writing. I had no financial backers and no start-up capital other than what I could borrow on my home. Like Moses, I was facing a situation where success seemed unlikely.


It would have been easy to question if I was hearing the Lord correctly, but my wife Susie had no doubts. With her encouragement, I placed an order with a printer for 500 copies of our first issue. That was 18 years ago. Since that time, God has generously used Sound Mind Investing to assist tens of thousands of Christians as they seek to honor Him with their stewardship and giving. To Him be the glory; great things He has done!


Among the lessons I've learned, these stand out:

(1) To be more usable, we must become even more dependent. This can be painful for awhile.

(2) Knowing Him better is worth the pain.

(3) He has a timetable for accomplishing this. Chances are, it's not the same as ours.

(4) "Without faith it is impossible to please God..." is one of the most daunting verses in Scripture.

(5) He chooses how we serve Him and plants us where he wills.

(6) The door of usefulness is open to everybody. If the qualification is weakness, we can all qualify.  


Ready for a great adventure? Ask God to use you more.


© Sound Mind Investing

Published since 1990, Sound Mind Investing is America's best-selling financial newsletter written from a biblical perspective. 
Visit the Sound Mind Investing website .

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Winning Over Worry

5 strategies to stop fretting

Ever since I can remember, my mind worked overtime thinking about all the dreadful events that could happen to my loved ones or me. I worried about major tragedies: plane crashes, rape, cancer. I even worried about minor situations: missing a payment due date, wearing the wrong thing to a social outing, having bad breath. However, most of those what-ifs were never realized.
Until, that is, the day my worst dread became a reality: My father was diagnosed with cancer. Finally my worries were justified. But now I had to decide: Who would be my companion through this crisis? Anxiety—or God?
While praying for my dad, I recalled Jesus' words in Luke 12:25-26: "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! And if worry can't do little things like that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?" (NLB). This message comes from the man who often didn't know where he'd eat or sleep; who constantly endured public criticism from many important people; who knew he'd die an excruciatingly painful death. I was ashamed. I didn't want anxiety to cripple me. I wanted to trust God and experience peace. "OK, God," I prayed through clenched teeth, "I'm turning Dad's health over to you. I'm trusting you want the best for my family. And I won't worry about something I can't control." That prayer was the toughest I ever prayed.
To follow through on my prayer, I began searching for strategies to rid myself of worry and fill my life with hope.
[1] Pray in faith.

For me, prayer wasn't the problem. The problem was telling God my worries and asking for his help, then holding on to them, like a tug-of-war. I kept reminding God to be as concerned about the situation as I was.

When I progressed from my 20s to 30s with no husband, I grew panicky. Oh, how I prayed and worried I'd be single forever. Finally, God impressed upon me he couldn't answer my prayers if I didn't have faith—the opposite of worry. He didn't promise that he'd answer "yes," just that he'd answer. I took a leap of faith and said, "God, I'm going to trust you know what you're doing. And if that means I never get married, then I'm not going to waste my life worrying about being single." When worry reared its ugly head again, I repeated that prayer. God didn't immediately answer with a "yes." But I discovered the more I prayed that prayer, the more I meant it. God eventually gave me a spouse, but by then I was enjoying my life so much, I'd stopped worrying about my marital status.
[2] Choose health.

Studies show worrying can lead to tension headaches, hypertension, muscle tension, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, irritability, poor memory, insomnia, and even obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Whenever I tense up and feel nauseated, I meditate and breathe deeply. In his book The Anxiety Cure, Christian psychologist Dr. Archibald Hart explains meditation and its benefits as the "literal embodiment of Psalm 46:10, 'Be still, and know that I am God.' … It is all about worship, a devotional act" of imagining "Jesus standing in front of you, beckoning you to hand over all that bothers you." Then I "select an attribute of God and focus on it. His love, compassion, grace."
I also exercise to combat the physical effects of worry. When I'm exercising, I can think only about breathing. After all, who has time to worry when you're just trying to huff and puff around the track one more time?
[3] Learn to laugh.
Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." I realized I needed to lighten up, to force myself to find whatever humor I could, and not take myself so seriously. So what if I messed up and called a coworker the wrong name? So what if I miscalculated the traffic and was late to the business meeting I was leading? I've learned to apologize, laugh about it, and move on. (I use the "I'm blond at the roots" excuse.) By tomorrow, everyone will have forgotten. And if not, it'll make a great story in a year—or ten.
4] Practice gratitude.

In Philippians 4:6-7, the apostle Paul says, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he's done. If you do this, you'll experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand" (nlt; italics added).


I decided to test this promise one day during a nine-hour road trip. It was raining so hard I couldn't see the pavement. My anxiety meter was running high, so I decided to list aloud all the blessings in my life. The list's length amazed me! Focusing on the positive calmed me enough to think clearly, make wise driving decisions, and actually enjoy the ride. I couldn't control the weather, but I could control my anxiety.

[5] Acknowledge God's power.

1 Peter 5:7 says to give all your worries to God, for he cares about what happens to you. But who is God, really? I tended to make him just a little bigger than I was—until I studied Isaiah 40. God says, "Do you want to know how big I am? Compared to me, people are like grass." With such a big God on my side, why should I worry? Granted, devastation in life does occur. Your family files for bankruptcy, your teenage daughter gets pregnant, your husband dies in a car accident. Those are absolutely times of concern. But they're also times when God reaches out to say, "I'm sovereign. Do you trust me? Allow me to take control." Then he lets you choose.

My "worry demon" still rears its head on occasion, but with decreased frequency as I continue to practice biblical principles. Several years ago, when my husband and I were building a house, a carpenter fell two stories and was injured. When I first heard the news he was suing us, I saw us losing everything. But God intervened in my thoughts: Does losing everything matter eternally? Once I realized my attitude and reaction, not my loss, would make an eternal difference, God's indescribable peace flooded me. In the end, we had to pay the worker $35,000. We're still recovering from that financial hit, yet I'm OK. That's what kicking the worry habit can do.
During difficult times, I look back over all the other times God's faithfully brought me through worrisome circumstances. If he worked on my behalf then, he'll surely do so again. Just ask my dad—he's living proof.
Ginger Kolbaba is Editor of TCW sister publication Marriage Partnership and author of A Matter of Wife and Death (Howard/Simon & Schuster). Visit her website at

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Two Things Pastors Should Learn from Barack Obama

source: crosswalk

Yesterday Barack Obama bowed to inevitable reality and resigned his membership at Trinity United Church in Chicago. He did what he had to do given a) his desire to be president, and b) all the publicity swirling around the controversial statements of his former pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, and last Sunday's guest preacher, Father Michael Pfleger. I do not doubt that it was a very painful decision, and I do not fault him for making it in part for political reasons. Would he have resigned if he were not running for president? One assumes the answer is no, but it doesn't matter. We all have to make tough choices, and in this case he did the political calculus and decided that the price of continued affiliation with the church he attended for more than 20 years was more than he was willing to pay. I don't feel sorry for him, but I don't fault him either. I hope he finds a new church home soon.


I can see a small lesson and a larger lesson here for pastors. The small lesson is that in the Internet age, everything we say is being recorded somewhere. There was a time–and it wasn't so long ago–that a pastor could unburden himself to his Wednesday Bible study, knowing that his words were not being recorded and would not show up later on YouTube. I call this the small lesson because it ought to be obvious to all of us that personal privacy is rapidly disappearing. The day is long past when pastors can get away with loose talk or casual jokes or offhand remarks. They can't say, "This is just for the church family," because someone with a cell phone will soon send it around the world.


Pastors, take note. If you don't want to see it later on the Internet, don't say it or write it. Anything you say and anything you write can and will be used against you. Barack Obama made that point, he's right, and there's nothing to be done about it.


, this whole episode ought to conclusively refute the notion that churches and politics can be completely separated. The moral and spiritual issues of our time are such that you can't be a faithful pastor without offending someone, somewhere, sometime. I don't agree with Jeremiah Wright, but I have no particular problem with him speaking his own convictions to his own congregation. In the days to come evangelical pastors will be speaking out about abortion and gay marriage, especially the latter since the California Supreme Court has put the issue on the front burner. "Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2 NLT). Faithful ministry of the Word always involves both the negative and the positive.


In an odd way Barack Obama's resignation proves the point that the church must be the moral conscience of the community. It would be tragic if pastors stopped speaking out on the great issues of the day, even though it means that from time to time you will have to use the word "former" to describe certain prominent church members.


Pastors, say what you want, but remember that what draws a loud "Amen!" on Sunday morning may come back to haunt you when it shows up on Fox News. And you may lose some church members as a result.


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