Marriage

The First Vision Night!

Last night, we had our very first Vision Night!  I don’t think I can ever remember teaching a group of people who were more dialed-in and engaged with the topic of leadership!

 

Instead of covering practical nuts and bolts of leadership in terms of equipping our church to thrive, the Lord led me, instead, to talk about what I called, “The Forgotten Foundation of Leadership.” I called it the forgotten foundation because of the disheartening, frustrating, and even sad state of affairs in leadership around the world, including leadership in the church. With Christian leadership, particularly, comes a standard of morality, integrity, and faithfulness to Almighty God. As such, I felt God leading me to make sure we start with the most important foundation. As Christian leaders, if we get this one wrong, nothing else really matters.

 

I laid out the material with what I called, The Diamond of Morality.” I can’t include it all here, but I basically talked about four key components of this diamond.

 

1.  Prayer and Devotion

2.  Exercise

3.  Maintaining your Marriage

4.  Consider the Cost

 

The central theme throughout the entire night is that Christian morality is achieved by focusing NOT on what we need TO DO, but rather on who we want TO BE. 

 

The part of my message that seemed to resonate the most with everyone was, Maintaining your Marriage! Listen in– the greatest insurance for moral integrity is a happy home life. Here are the nuggets I covered to help us maintain our marriage and have a happy home life:

 

a. Involve your mate in your ministry…

b. Surround yourself with reminders of your family…

c. Keep the lines of communication open…

d. When attracted or aroused, direct it towards your spouse…

e. Date your mate…

f.  Guard your mind…

 

Regarding that last point, about your mind, remember this, beloved, Satan is a headhunter and your sexuality is the battlefield and your mind is his trophy.

 

As you can probably tell, it was raw. I said some stuff that pastors usually don’t talk about. But, therein lies our problem. If the church is not speaking about such matters, is it any wonder that our children and some of our leaders experience horrible falls from grace.

 

If you are trying to lead anything, please remember this, YOU WIN FROM WITHIN, and the surest way to take yourself out of the game is to forget the integrity/morality foundation of Christian leadership!

 

Lead well – I believe in you and I am praying for you!

Ephesians – Chapter 5

Some Parenting Things We Try to Do…

On Sunday, I started our new series called, Parenting by the Book! The engagement was off the chart but, of course, it is always that way when you talk about parenting. To be honest, parenting is just hard work.

Several people have requested that I post the last part of the message, when I simply started sharing some various ways in which we try to apply the principles, Love Ur God and Lead Ur Family.  So, as requested, here are my unedited notes from that part of my message:

1.   We try to make God a part of everything. In other words we try and keep God the hub of our lives.  This is the point of Deuteronomy 6.  We just try and eat, drink, sleep, talk, GOD.  We don’t have these holy huddles, where angels join us and we sing the hallelujah chorus. :)

ILLUSTRATION:  False illusions of our Pastor and his family :)  It’s not all that!   In fact, it’s a little insulting. We have the same stress, fights, hardships, and challenges of every other family. In fact, can you imagine trying to start and grow this church for 10 years with five children. It’s hard. But we just try and keep God the center of it all.

2.      We TRY to do devotions and life group stuff together.  Often we do not get this right and often we miss our devotional time together as a family, but we just keep trying.

3.     We keep it real – when mess up, we ask for forgiveness. Like, what you see and hear from me up here, is EXACTLY what my kids see and hear up in my house. There is no disconnect. We are who we are both in the public and private worlds.

4.   Church is a given – you can’t love Jesus and be disconnected from is Bride! BTW – serving at the church is a given.  Not optional!   If they say, we don’t want to go, we thank them for sharing their sentiment and tell them to get their butt in the car as we are going to church!  Again, you can’t love Jesus and dislike His bride!

5.    We lead our family counter-culturally.  When culture goes one way, we don’t go that way just because everyone else is going that way.  In our culture, it is very common to put kids in activities starting around the age three, or certainly four, and certainly five.

a.  Every single year, because my children are awesome athletes, we get asked to participate in travel AAU sports.  We have always said, “No thanks!”  We don’t even think about it for a second because we know that will interfere/intrude on family time. Church, you often have to say no to good things to experience GREAT things!

b.  We value family time more than we do sending five kids in five different directions and trying to round them up and make sure they all got home.  So, there are times when our kids get asked to do things with others and we say, “NO thanks.”  We are having family time!  And so, we intentionally build in very intentional family nights.

6.    We celebrate every chance we get!  Nights out!  Parties!  Basketball brackets and winner gets to choose dinner location.  Good grades – party.  We celebrate every chance we get! We want them to have a wonderful time remembering,  “It’s great to follow Christ in the Kelley family.”

7.    We monitor their interaction with the world

a.  We look over their text messaging. We used to look over their emails, but they don’t email anymore.

b.  We have say in what movies they see! And we take some heat for it from time to time.  “Mom’s Conservative Christian Web Site” :) (www.pluggedinonline.com)

8.   We lead relationally. 

a.  My kids see me take Amy out on dates. They see us go on trips together. Why? Because I want them to know that they are not in charge, that we guard the integrity of our marriage.  We are not child-centered parents.  We are a God-centered marriage, and God says for us to pour our lives into one another.

b.  I date my daughter, Anna Grace! I want my daughter and my boys to see how a man should treat a woman so when some hairy-legged dude comes up to my door wanting to date my Anna Grace, I can take him to my gun case, and say, “Heck NO!”  Just kidding. :)

So, those are some things we do. We don’t do them all right, but we keep trying. As I’ve often said, I will pray for you and your kids and I beg you to please pray for our five kiddos and me.   We love all of you dearly and consider it a pure joy to be able to raise our family with you and yours!

 

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