Yesterday I heard a sermon which suggested that men are responsible for the spiritual life of their family and church. This morning I read an article with some practical ways to do that. 11 Practical Ways for Men to Lead a Family. 

When the Spirit nudges me twice in 24 hours on the same subject, I try to pay attention. Look around guys. The sad truth is that women are running our families and our churches. Sure most of our churches have male pastors, but women are still in charge. They are in charge, not because they have a title, but because they do most of the work. Look around on Sunday morning and see who is doing what. The women are probably doing most everything other than ushering. Guess what. I can find my own seat. I sit in the same place every week.

Most of our homes are the same way. I would like to believe this is a vast feminine conspiracy, but I suspect this has happened because women have stepped up to fill roles that we men have failed to fill. It’s time we do something about this. But let me warn you. It won’t be easy. I think the women like being in charge. Watch any TV sitcom. The women are running things and the men are looking foolish. That’s going to be a tough status quo to change.

How can we do it.

1.  Preach by example. It will do no good to announce, “I am now the spiritual leader.” You will sound like an alien. Start with your mouth shut. Just start acting like a leader, model humility, honesty, repentance, service, study, and worship. 

2. Count the bibles in your home. Dust them off and start reading one in the presence of your family. Make sure everyone has his or her own copy so he or she can do the same.

3.  Make sure there are good bible study aids available. If you live on your smart phone make sure you have some of the great bible study apps that are available. Make sure you use them in the presence of your family. 

4. Make appropriate choices for television and movies. Don’t just suggest such choices for others. Watch with your family.

5. Eat meals together. Don’t just say grace but use the time to pray for real needs and keep track of how God responds for those needs.

6. Pray with and for each member of your family each day. Touch them when you do this. If this is very out of character for you, try a simple touch of the hand and say, “I’m praying for you.” Perhaps ask what they need prayer for.

You see being the spiritual leader means leading by example. It’s not about control or a title. It’s about being and doing.

Try it and be blessed.


Why on This Morning?

In the Jewish tradition, Passover night is very special. A special meal is held and ceremoniously executed. As part of the ceremony, the youngest child asks a series of questions designed to point out that on this special night, things are different.

I think we should have a similar tradition in Christianity for Sunday Mornings. Isn’t it true in your house that Sunday mornings are different. During the week, the family has a routine which requires everyone to be up and at it by a certain time, breakfast is done, kids are dressed and everyone has to be out the door, on a bus or headed to work. It all works like an army on maneuvers. But on Sunday morning it’s chaos. Even though church starts much later. It seems impossible to get everyone up, dressed and out the door on time. Why on this morning are there more arguments, excuses to stay in bed and just generally dragged out feelings than on other mornings? Why do we run into more red lights, long freight trains and every other kind of barrier on Sunday mornings that don’t pop up during the week.

I guess we could argue that the routine is a bit different. Maybe we do a bit too much on Saturday night. Maybe we stay up a bit too late. But deep down we all know the reason. The enemy doesn’t care if we get to work or school on time. He really doesn’t want us in church.

In church we are refreshed and renewed. We worship our God. We should recognize there are others who struggle but who try each day to put Jesus first.  What we do on Sunday mornings is important. That’s why this morning is unlike any other morning.

Now get up and get at it.

Be blessed.


New Beginning

Tomorrow Pastor Kerry will present his first sermon as Interim Pastor. It will be a significant day in the life of Amana. I don’t have a draft of the sermon like the news agencies seem to get in advance of the State of the Union Address. I don’t know what Pastor Kerry plans to say; but I do have some advice on listening.

The toughest job  in any arena is a job as the “interim” anything. An “interim” has the burden of moving an organization forward, but not forever. An “interim” faces the problem that if he proposes something unpopular, folks will just wait for the “permanent” pastor to show up. An “interim” often has all the responsibility but none of the authority. It’s tough to be an “interim.”

I always felt bad for the guy who coached the Alabama football team after “Bear” Bryant. I don’t even remember his name. I once served in a church that never was quite the same when the founding pastor moved on. Every pastor after the first got compared to the “original.” Following a superstar is tough.

Amana has more ex-pastors than any church I’ve ever been involved in. That’s a tremendous resource and potentially a tremendous problem. Each of us who has ever been a pastor has some pretty strong ideas about what it means to be a Pastor. It’s tough to pastor a bunch of old pastors.

I always feel a bit sorry for rookies. The first time you do anything is tough. Pastor Kerry has never been a pastor before. It’s tough to be a rookie.

Pastor T is still around. I am really happy about that. Pastor T is my friend. But he’s not the pastor anymore. He’s Pastor Emeritus. He’s no longer Pastor T. He’s Pastor E T.  It’s tough to have a job when the guy who used to have the job is still around.

So as you can see. Pastor Kerry has a tough job tomorrow and for the next six months. So here’s my advice. Listen carefully to what Pastor Kerry has to say. Pray before. Pray during and Pray after. Whatever he has to say, give it a chance. If you don’t like something he says or does, tell him. If you like something he says or does, tell him.

Pastor Kerry is the pastor, not Pastor T, not any of us old pastors, and not you. 

Listen for hints about what you should do. That’s much more important than what Pastor K will do. 

Do everything good you have been doing. Stop doing those things that aren’t helpful. Listen for opportunities to do something new. When tempted to talk. . . do. 

Let’s just pray and see what God will do.

Be blessed Pastor K. Be blessed Amana.



My church is going through a leadership transition so focus is on the church . But every church is in need of some help. Yesterday I saw this article: Five Ways You Can Help Your Church My thoughts follow: 

If you believe your church could be better, the mirror is a good place to look for improvement. It’s easy to criticize leadership, but you’re not likely to directly affect that, even if it is the problem. That doesn’t matter because the real health of a church is best measured by the condition of those in the pews.
Another potential area of improvement is in “theology.” Most of us believe that the church we belong to could sharpen it’s “theology.” Usually that means my brothers and sisters could and, in fact, should, believe a bit more like me. That’s not happening any time soon either, so let’s put that aside.
Of course it would be great if we served as a one person admissions committee that could decide who got to attend our church. That’s not happening either.
So what are we left with? Basically, what can I do better. These are factors we can change, so the potential for improvement is great. 
1) Be Committed. 
Some folks like to be “one foot out and one foot in” when it comes to their church. It’s like the pseudo-sports fan who says, “We won” in times of victory and, “They lost” when things don’t go so well. Get completely on board. Have a little ownership. Call it “my church.” Attend. Participate. Pray. If worse comes to worse at least you will have earned the right to complain.
2) Be On Time
People who show up late cause distraction and are subtly putting down the church. It’s like showing up late for an appointment or a date. If you don’t want to be there for the announcements, re-read number 1 above. 
3) Be Honest
In the original article this one reads “Be Positive.” I prefer people that are honest. One of the real problems in church is that people aren’t real. Everyone believes that a Christian should always be smiling and if there is a struggle in life, it’s a sign of failure. That attitude prevents us from really knowing, connecting with and helping each other.  Be real.  If you’re suffering through a crisis, the church should be the first place to cry. Don’t come with a mask. But also don’t come with a super-critical eye. Come intending to give back to the body with your gifts and talents. Come intending to be fed the Word, but also disciple and encourage others. Come ready to love and forgive and hug and forbear. Come to church ready to forgive small and big slights. Also, be pro-church. Greet guests warmly, advance the church goals and ministries with a smile.  
4) Be Prayed Up
If Sunday is the only time you think about or talk to God don’t expect much to happen. Sunday’s not your once-a-week time with God. It’s your time with the people of God sharing what God is doing in each of our lives. If we’re prayed up during the week we show up overflowing instead of dry and needy. The difference will change our experience of church forever.
5) Be Solution-Oriented
Come to fix not to be fixed. I heard a great piece of advice this week. If you’re discouraged, go find someone to encourage. If we will stop looking inward at our problems but instead look outward at other’s needs, we will finally learn what church is all about.

Does your church need some help? Isn’t it time you did something about that?

Be blessed.


Earthly Sight – Eternal Perspective

When we consider our life mission statement we are inclined to two mistakes: looking too far and looking too close. It’s not just a case of being like Goldilocks and looking “just right.”

We look too far because we tend to dream long distance. When we think of life mission, we have thoughts of overseas missionary service in Africa or the Far East. God may give us such a call. But we need to look at what is in front of us. 

I had a grandson who was miserable in school. I had never considered myself an elementary school teacher.  I much prefer the thought of teaching pretty college girls while donned in a jacket with patches on the elbows in a college with lots of ancient oaks and a decent football team. Sometimes I forget my wife reads this. . . sometimes. Nevertheless I find myself a fourth grade school teacher with a class of one. I am being thoroughly blessed with the experience.

I always enjoyed teaching and preaching to a packed house. In this environment you get instant feedback and can adjust accordingly. Instead, I find myself preparing a daily blog which disappears into the blackness of internet void. I know not where it goes and what effect, if any, it might have.

The point is the mission is often in front of us. We can’t make the mistake of looking too far away and miss the work that needs doing that is staring us in the face. But we also need to keep eternal perspective. How does God see where we’re at and what we’re doing. David Jeremiah this morning referred to Nehemiah’s wall building. Each builder could only see the struggle with the few stones and the small area over which he had charge. Only God can see the bigger perspective. 

A couple of days ago I searched for “christian” on twitter and was amazed by the number of people who are toiling in that social network to make a difference for God. My blog goes out there and may make only a tiny difference, if any at all. But there are many more being sent forth. Coordinated by our heavenly general, together (not even knowing of each other’s existence) we are making a difference.

Don’t make the mistake of looking too far or dwelling with a short distance perspective. Deal with the challenges God sets before you and let Him coordinate the big picture.

Be blessed my fellow worker toiling in the fields ready for harvest.



Yesterday I was discouraged. The specific reasons are not important.   I’m not sure I could identify the reasons for my discouragement. Today, I’m encouraged. That’s the important point. The issue? What transferred me from the state of discouragement to the right realm of the encouraged children of God? What changed me from thinking I can’t do it anymore to being sure I can?

Two things made the difference: Time with my Lord and time with my friends. I spent some time with God. David Jeremiah’s teaching this morning which I listen to each Wednesday morning was about the Giant of Discouragement. Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord will provide just the word you need at the times you need them. But Satan tried to keep me from that help. I overslept this morning and was late heading to my Wednesday morning men’s meeting. So I missed the teaching. But my friends pointed it out and I listened to it later. 

I also spent time with my friends. I can’t emphasize enough the important of spending quality time with fellow believers. Not just sitting in a crowd, but sitting around a table, praying and listening and talking. I found out I wasn’t the only one dealing with discouragement. That’s encouraging. One of the biggest problems with the giants in our lives, is that Satan has us believing that we are the only ones struggling with a particular giant. Just knowing we are now alone or different, is a great encouragement.

I hope these simple facts will be an encouragement to you: I was also discouraged. I found encouragement in the words of my Lord and the words of my brothers.

Be encouraged and be blessed.