Category Archives: family

Priorities

Last night I was supposed to go to CharlotteONE for the first time. I had flyers printed up to help promote Ephesus there, announced in church that I was hoping a group of us could go together and intentionally asked off of my restaurant job for last night a few weeks ago in anticipation of going to CharlotteONE. To make a long story short, I ended up getting off of the restaurant job about an hour later than anticipated. What this meant was that I would get home, take a shower and immediately leave again with no time to see my family. As many of you know, my schedule is a little out of whack these days and I am home very little. I will be gone most of the rest of the evenings this week and was gone most of last weekend. Even before I left work I made the decision that I was not going to go to CharlotteONE but instead was going to stay home. Several people from Ephesus were planning on meeting me at CharlotteONE and I tried to touch base with them to let them know my change of plans. I hope ya’ll still went!

Bottom line, I don’t regret the decision at all. I came home from a full day of working to a house full of kids and my wife. With nothing now pressing on my schedule I could give them my full attention. Casey had to run some errands and I suggested we all go. With 3 kids it’s not often we all run errands together. It was loud and crazy, but we were together. We went to the party store for streamers for bike day at Casey’s school. The boys and I explored all the fun party toys and looked at each other backwards through toy binoculars. My favorite part was when I put on a Darth Vader mask and told the boys “I am your father!” which I think is hilarious because I am their father!. Riley pointed out all the bad Halloween decorations because they are bad and Riley loves Jesus, and we generally had a crazy, fun time. We came home, gave them all baths and I read some of The Hobbit to the kids. Ridge then declared he was the “prayer leader” for the night and prayed for everyone before bed. Then it was tuck ins and lights out for the kids. Casey and I then watched two different movies thanks to modern technology, but finished the night on our knees praying for our family and our church before crawling into bed and going to sleep side by side.

So I missed CharlotteONE last night and probably messed up some people’s plans to meet up there. I’m a little sorry about that, but I know I made the right decision and focused on the right priorities last night.

 

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Ridge took a big step today…

Ridge is our 4 year old as most of you know. While Riley has been the thinker, Ridge has been the doer. He lives life 100MPH crashes for a nap or for the night then jumps up ready to go. A while back he and Riley would pray for meals and alternate praying at bedtime, but then Ridge decided he didn’t want to pray anymore so he wouldn’t. It was tough not to “make” him pray too, but we let him be. In the meantime, Riley began to care about Ridge not praying and really wanted Ridge to ask Jesus into his heart. He’s a good big brother. So we told Riley to begin to pray for Ridge to want to ask Jesus into his heart and not to push Ridge. Tonight, at dinner, we finally were able to have a family dinner in the hecticness of the last few weeks, and I said “It’s time to pray.” Ridge then said, “I want to pray.” Wow, hadn’t heard him say that in a long time. He prayed a simple prayer, “Thank you Jesus for this day and bless this food, amen.” It was very special. Then, tonight at bedtime, again he wanted to pray. I thought it’s time to take this further so I asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart and he said “Yes!” Riley helped him better understand what Jesus did on the cross, and I asked him what happened after he died and he said, “There was blood on him.” “Yes” I replied, he’s all boy, “then what happened.” “Men put him in a tomb,” Ridge said. “They did, do you know happened after they put him in the tomb?” I asked. “He came alive!” Then we prayed together for Jesus to come into his heart with Riley and Casey.

Ephesus Church is a blessing to my life, but being the pastor to my family far exceeds it. This last month has been hard on all of us, and I’ve prayed that I won’t lose the boys in the midst of this. Today, I got to spend the whole afternoon with Riley exploring Uptown Charlotte again. Then tonight, Ridge decides he’s ready to pray to Jesus. I got to be Pastor Daddy, which is a way higher priority than Pastor Ben. Not only did I get to pray with Ridge tonight, but I know Riley has been praying for Ridge for months. That’s a good day.

Fatherhood continued…

Yesterday at Ephesus we took the opportunity on Father’s Day to look at the biblical standards God calls dads to live out. You can download the podcast and listen in if you’re interested. It should be posted soon. Today as I read my Life Journal reading (more are now available for $6 at the Connections Table), I read a story that grieves me each time I revisit it. Jehoshaphat was a great king of Judah who loved the Lord, followed Him closely and heeded His prophets. He did not make a move without seeking the Lord first. J. has always held a special place in my heart for 2 reasons. 1) He was truly a man of God and ruled by His grace. 2) In middle school I was in a church musical called “Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat.” It was a retelling of the time J. was faced with enemies on all sides, fasted, prayed and sent the musicians out first and God won the day. Good times. But I picked something up in the life J. a few years ago. As great a king as he was and as much as the Bible tells us he loved God, he failed as a father. This has always grieved me. Today in the Life Journal reading we pick up the story of the son of J.

2 Chronicles 21:4-6-Now when Jehoram was established over the kingdom of his father (Jehoshophat), he strengthened himself and killed all his brothers with the sword, and also others of the princes of Israel. Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel (who followed Baal and Asherah), just as the house of Ahab had done, for he had the daughter of Ahab as a wife; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.

You can read more of Jehoram’s story in 2 Kings 8 and 9, but you get the gist. He blew it, killed his brothers and worshiped false gods. What grieves me so much (he was one of many Hebrew kings who worshiped false gods) is the failure of his godly father Jehoshophat. A godly man and godly king who loved and followed the Lord, yet failed to raise up a godly son. We read of no good excuse as to why this would have happened. We only can see that Jehoshophat failed as a dad to pass on his love for God to his son. This struck me today again as we focused in on honoring and challenging fathers yesterday during our service.

Men, we are called to love God, have a personal relationship with Jesus and pursue personal righteousness. But we must not ever neglect to pass this legacy on to our children. One of the points we talked about yesterday was a father’s responsibility to pastor his children. To teach them about Jesus. As great as Jehoshophat was, his reputation is tarnished in my mind because of the horrendous failure of his son. Don’t pursue godliness or accomplishments at the expense of your children, or those God has placed in your life to mentor and lead. Your legacy matters! After your time on this earth is complete, what will you leave behind? My desire above all is to leave children who love God and advance His kingdom in ways I could never imagine!

Me and Riley

Yesterday Riley and I went to see Ratatouille, the new Pixar movie. I’m a huge fan of movies and especially Pixar, but this one wasn’t overly a kids’ movie. It was good, but Brad Bird writes to a little more adult audience and uses animation to create his vision. Anyway, all that being said Riley wasn’t too in to it, he got a little sleepy and so he climbed over the armrest and into my lap for the last 45 minutes of the movie. That was incredible. I just sat there and thought about how blessed I am to have a little guy who wants to be in my lap and hang out with Dad. What a challenge to me. I can be such a workaholic and so focused on all the little things and big things I need to do, and I am sadly guilty of brushing Riley off sometimes. I want so badly to be a great dad, and I think I’m doing okay, but I can become complacent too fast. I have always been challenged by the Old Testament kings, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, Jehoshaphat, men who led God’s people, followed after God and then had sons who “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” These great men of God who had screwed up kids. I’m determined to not let that be me. I want to see Riley and Ridge become amazing men of God, doing bigger things for the Kingdom than I could ever imagine. What a challenge to me. What a humbling experience to have Riley climb into my lap to watch a rat who likes to cook…