BUT IT’S SHORTER

Coming home from church one night, Ryan and Janina rode with me while Nathan and Joaquin rode with their mom since they used another car coming from a birthday party.

A conversation between Janina, my 11 year old and Ryan, my 7 year old that made me bust out laughing went like this…

RYAN: I don’t like Robert (not his real name).  He’s weird.

ME: Ryan, be nice.  Don’t say that.

JANINA: Ryan, you can say it this way – “He’s different and unique.  I don’t get along with him because you dislike the way he acts.”

RYAN: Huh?  But “I don’t like Robert” is shorter!

Oo nga naman.

WHAT AN AMAZING DAY

What an amazing day!

– International staff meeting was fantastic!  I’ve never been so glad to be part of Every Nation family.  Forty plus nations in one room.  A taste of Revelation 7:9.

– Praise and Worship was electrifyingly glorious.  Jon Owens and Neli Atiga… no words to describe.

– Great to see friends from all over the world.

– Pastor Jim Laffoon shared a very timely message for people in full time staff and those actively involved in ministry.

    • “Spirit of Exodus is about to come.  Multitudes are going to find freedom through the gospel.”
    • “This decade is going to be a decade of supernatural power.”
    • “There is going to be magnificent harvest in this decade – unique and tremendous harvest.”
    • “There will be 10 years of growth in a period of just 5 years.”
    • Ezekiel 43:-13.  God’s presence, glory and power will be settling upon His people.

– He then gives out a few warnings…

    • “When God touches something, don’t take the credit; fall down on your face and be thankful.”
    • “Be careful that you don’t get overwhelmed by the growth – don’t get hurt along the way.

– He then gives 2 determinations

1. Draw closer to Christ!

    • “We’ve stayed so connected to our technology that I wonder if we still are connected with God.”
    • “Podcasts, websites, twitter, sermon helps are great but don’t let it be a God-replacement.”
    • “I’m afraid sometimes that technology has mastered us.”

2. Walk under the covering of God.

    • Pray for His protection.

– Reports from all over the world blew everyone away.  So awed by what God is doing in the nations.  Yet we are barely scratching the surface.  Just glad we’re a part of it though.

– Seeing our leaders have fun on stage is so refreshing. So fun to be a Christian.  Love being in this spiritual family.

– Lunch with Pastor Sam Webb, Pastor Ariel and Shirley Marquez.

– Breakout sessions: Discipleship@Home.  What an honor co-teaching with Pastor David Houston and Sandy.  I remember when they taught in a preconference meeting in 1995.  I attended and we didn’t have kids yet.  A lot of what Jenn and I shared we learned from them anyway… and from Ariel and Shirley… and Joel and Jenny Magpantay… and Steve and Deborah Murrell… and Joey and Marie Bonifacio.

– Spent a few moments with some pastors from Melbourne, Australia – Planet Shakers.  Great bunch of guys.

– Dinner with Jonathan and Joanne Pardey and their kids from South Africa.  We’re hosting them while they are here.  What a privilege and honor.  So we’ll have 8 kids in the house – their 4 and our 4.  What a riot!

Did I already say I’m so blessed to be part of this spiritual family?

– What an amazing day!

SOMETHING UNFORTUNATE

Something very unfortunate happened this morning.  After an awesome Victory group meeting with several men from church, I got home only to find out that one of my kids accidentally spilled water on the laptop.

I went berserk and ballistic to say the least.  Afterwhich, I grabbed the laptop to bring it to one of the PowerMac service centers to get it fixed.

After coming home, I called my son.  He immediately said, “I am so so so sorry dad.  Please forgive me.”

To this I replied, “I am so sorry I got upset.  Do you know that you are more important than the laptop?”

Upon hearing this, to my horror, he shook head.  With tears welling up in his eyes, he emphasized his response to my question by another shaking of the head.

When I started this post saying something unfortunate happened, I wasn’t talking about the laptop.  I was talking about a realization.  I just communicated with my 7 year old that that piece of machine was more valuable than he was.

I had to immediately repent to God and ask my son for forgiveness.  I hugged him and with ‘sweaty eyes’ as I looked at his dispirited face.

“Ryan, I am so sorry for making you feel that way.  I was wrong. You are more important to me than anything in this world.  Can you please forgive me?”

“I forgive you dad.  I am sorry more.”

Hugs followed.  Glad he was very forgiving.

I can be such a jerk of a dad sometimes.

Heavenly Father, please pour out your grace to help me be the dad You want me to be for my kids.

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

REMEMBERING NOT TO FORGET

We’ve always tried to encourage our kids (to the point of nagging, unfortunately) to prepare their stuff the night before so that the next morning, they won’t get stressed preparing for school… especially because it’s early in the morning.

This morning, as I drove my kids to school, right when we pulled up at the school’s driveway, one them told me that a math book was forgotten and left at home.  The easiest thing to do is to be a super daddy, come to rescue by going home and bringing it to school.  Or… why not have our driver get it and pick it up.  That’s why we got one for emergencies like these, right?  Not really.

Well, my child might get a zero for this homework but I believe that would be one of the biggest lessons our children can learn.  I know you might be thinking, “what a monster dad!”  But learning consequences is one of the biggest lessons we can teach our children.  We cannot always rescue because that’s not how life works often enough.

There were times I’ve driven home to get something and bring it to school to illustrate grace and relate it with the grace of God in our lives.  But that’s few and far in between.

Teaching responsibility and realizing the consequences of being the opposite is a great lesson to learn early in life.

A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. Blessed is the man who reveres God, but the man who doesn’t care is headed for serious trouble. Proverbs 28: 13-14

ONE OF THE SADDEST VERSES IN THE BIBLE

As I was reading this morning, I read a verse that would seem to me to be one of the saddest verses in the Bible.

Samuel was one of the greatest prophets during the Old Testament.  He served as Israel’s judge for many years (1 Samuel 7:15-17).  In fact, he was the one who anointed Israel’s first King.

He had so many accomplishments as the nation’s judge and prophet.

However…

“… his sons did not walk in his ways.  They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” (1 Samuel 8:3)

I cannot exchange ministry success with failure in the home.  It won’t be right to sacrifice family in the altar of success.  I cannot.  We should not.  There’s just no comparison.

I told our staff yesterday at Victory Fort that as a pastor, I am not indispensable.   There are lots who can replace me with what I do for the church – better, smarter and more gifted guys.  But as a husband and father, there’s just no replacement.  My kids will only have one dad.  If the time comes that I’ll have to choose between my family and the church (which I hope will never come), I’m outta here.

You guys know me.  I’m a ‘whatever-it-takes’ kind of guy.  I will do whatever it takes to advance the kingdom of God.  But between ministry success and family, there’s really just no competition at all.

TEACHING SELF-DISCIPLINE

One of our goals as parents is that the older our kids get, the less control we exercise over them.  Time will come that we won’t be there with them 24/7.  We won’t and we can’t.

Therefore, as early as now, one of the things I need to teach my kids is to teach them self-discipline.

Self discipline is saying no to foolish behavior so that he can say yes to the plans and purposes God has for his life.

Our goal as parents is that our kids will eventually become their own disciplinarian.
Here’s how Steve Farrar puts it on raising self-disciplined kids, particularly boys:

  • A self-disciplined son learns to control his emotions and drives.  In other words, he can put a cap on his anger and exercise control in his sex life.
  • A self-disciplined son respects authority, even when he doesn’t agree with it.
  • A self-disciplined son grasps the value of future reward over immediate gratification.
  • A self-disciplined son has learned to see outside his own little world of his own needs.  In fact, he sees it as his honor and duty to sacrifice to meet the needs of those he loves.
  • A self-disciplined son is a self-starter.  He doesn’t need his mom to get him up every morning so that he won’t be late for his senior English class.

Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives. (Prov. 19:18, NLT)

HOW CAN I PARENT IF I DIDN’T HAVE GOOD ONES

Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest scholars the 17th century has ever produced – a God-fearing man, former president of Princeton University and pastor.  He and her wife Sarah had 11 children.  They were considered a model family.

Studies about their family show that over 1400 of their descendants followed Edwards’ legacy.  They contributed much to the society.

Not many people know, however, the story of Jonathan Edwards’ grandmother who got pregnant by another man, shortly after she got married.  For the rest of her life, she lived a life of sexual immorality.

In addition, her life was characterized by a lot of rage and violence.  She murdered her own child.  Her own brother, in a fit of rage, killed their other sister using an ax.

Jonathan Edwards was well acquinted with the realities of sin.  After giving his life to Jesus, he made a decision to take his family a different direction.

Two things he did as his kids were growing up:

1. Purposeful interaction.

Every single day, he would spend at least an hour with one of his 11 children.  He was actively involved in their lives.

2. Intentional discipline.

Understanding that “folly is bound up in the heart of the child” which is why disciple and correction was part of their home. (Prov. 22:15)

But rules without relationship leads to rebellion.

Which is why much time was invested in the Edwards’ home mentoring and discipling their children.

As a result, generations of God-fearing men and women came from the Edwards’ lineage.

HAS IT BEEN 15 YEARS?

It can’t be!

You’ve heard of that cliche – “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

That’s how it’s been with you, Jenn.

After 15 years, 4 kids, numerous trips with you, our kids, fun experiences, sad ones too …

You’re an awesome friend, confidant, companion, movie partner, popcorn partner, ‘watching-a-tv-series’ buddy (24, chuck, monk, big bang theory), someone to minister with…

Looking forward to the next 15 and more years.

I really, really don’t mind growing old with you… not at all.

UNPLUGGED FOR A FEW DAYS

It was good to get unplugged for a few days. Internet access was intermittent and mostly we were in the different islands of Coron, Palawan.

God’s created a beautiful planet. It was once again highlighted when we got to visit one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. I told Jenn, “the Philippines is really a beautiful country. We need to get out of the city more often and appreciate what God’s given us as a nation.”

Here’s a highlight video of our trip.

WHY KIDS STEAL

I attended a Standard Operating Procedures training this afternoon at Victory Fort.   Because of the growth God’s been giving, coupled with it are challenges hinged to the growth.

Ms. Summer Parcon, a child psychologist shared about reasons why kids steal.

I just thought I’d share this with those who might be interested – parents, teachers, educators, kids church volunteers…

1. Poor impulse control

There may be many reasons for this.  One of which was permissive parenting.  When kids are given everything they want when they want, they may get frustrated when they don’t get what they want and resort to stealing.

2. Observational learning from adults.

If a child sees that daddy brings home office supplies, then they will think it’s also ok to do the same.

As Pastor Ferdie says it, “Monkey see, monkey do.”

3. Need for attention.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of family.  Surveys have shown us time and time again that when a child doesn’t get this at home, they will try to find it outside the home, even if that may cause them to do something they know is wrong.

4. Emotional lack

Lack of family closeness and support can be some of the reasons.  Kids who feel this may feel empty inside and may take things to fill that void.  There may be a lack of opportunity to express themselves so they displace it by taking other people’s things.

5. Peer pressure

One of our greatest needs as humans is the need to belong and to feel accepted.

Some want to appear tough, bold and important.  So when they get dared to get something that’s not theirs, they try to prove themselves to fit in.

6. Thrill and excitement

Stealing can lead to a sense of accomplishment.  It brings a certain rush.

7. Envy

Because of the influx of nice gadgets and stuff, kids might feel a pressure to have that item.

Hope this helps.