Back on the Road Again
Back on the Road Again
Conventions are back. In March, I had the privilege to serve at conferences in South Carolina and Missouri. Later this month, I will be in Oklahoma. I continue to speak at online events, but there is nothing like being together with kindred spirits who love God and their families. I am blessed to have the opportunity to connect with so many earnest parents who are seeking to train their children to live forever. We all come to a conference with legitimate concerns about curriculum and edifying family activities, but ultimately, our desire is to encourage our children to follow Jesus.
Over the years, I have been given many seminar topics. Then at the end of a workshop, I am asked questions. As you might expect, I receive queries about math, raising a special needs child, family discipleship, and marriage advice. I am happy to share what insights I have learned in seeking to build a family of faith for over forty years.
Sometimes I am asked what I would do differently or what advice I have for young parents just beginning their journey of training their children to live forever. I used to answer that question by encouraging them to pray for their children, teach them God’s Word in a regular family devotion time, and model His Word while you are with them. These principles are clearly taught in Scripture.
However, there is one new thing I add, and that is to invest in your own relationship with God. How I minister to my family as a father and husband flows from my connection with my Heavenly Father. I am convinced that I can only give what I have received. If I am to love God and my family well, I need to be loved well. In order for me to be a loving husband and father, I first need to be a loved son.
Jesus was equipped to be a loving, servant-hearted, sacrificial Savior because He was loved beautifully by His Dad. At His baptism, the Spirit of God descended on Jesus, and God the Father spoke to His Son’s heart, saying words every son needs to hear from their dad; “You are my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matthew 3:17 NLT) Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus would continue to take time alone to pray, find refreshment, and be encouraged by God.
As a follower of Jesus for over forty years, I know that the best thing I can do for my family is emulate Jesus by coming close to God, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and receiving a similar affirmation. Because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross, I am forgiven, clothed, and adopted into God’s family. By grace I am a dearly loved child, who brings God great joy. And like Jesus, I continue to daily set aside time to pray, read His Word, be refreshed by His Spirit, and come into His presence.
When I consistently make time to be with my Dad, not only am I a nicer husband and father, I find that my love for God is growing. I love God more than ever. I enjoy being near Him. I was designed to walk with God in the cool of the day, just as Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8). I was created to be in fellowship with God, singing, praising His name, and giving thanks to Him for Who He is and for what He has done.
With this new awareness, I am seeking to take care of Steve by deepening my relationship with God. I am soaking in God’s affection in new ways. Spending time with Jesus has made me kinder and safer to be around. I am able to communicate with my wife and sons in a new way. I listen better. The more I learn about Jesus, the more I want to be like Him, Who was “gentle and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11:29).
Like any parent, I have regrets about my actions that have wounded my wife and children. I have remorse about misusing my authority to rule over them instead of serving them. I can’t change the past. I can ask forgiveness from those I have offended, and trust God to redeem and heal relationships.
As the head of the home, I have been given the potential to build up my family like no one else. I also have the power to hurt them as no one else. I desperately want to use the authority that God has given me as a husband and father to build up and encourage my wife and sons. My number one objective is not to fix my family, but to love them, just as God in Christ has loved me. “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:12).
The more I comprehend God’s love for me, the better equipped I am to love God and others. John taught this principle when He wrote, “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) I love this prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesian church. It is long, but rich. I have used portions of these inspired words many times as I sought to be more rooted and grounded in God’s love. May it bless you as it has blessed me.
“I bow my knees before the Father, from Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19)
We continue our studies of the names and attributes of God sprinkled with hymn stories. Since the last newsletter these podcasts have been released: 267 God Our Provider, 268 Lyra Fidelium (Hymn History), 269, The God of All Hope, 270 Just as I Am (Hymn History), and 271 Jesus the Reconciler.
You can listen to them here.
Upcoming Events in April and May, I hope to see some of you in person!!
April 30-May 1, Oklahoma Family Conference
May 7-8, Pennsylvania Homeschool Conference, Northeast Region, Poconos
May 14-15, Pennsylvania Homeschool Conference, South-Central Region, Lancaster
May 27-29, North Carolina Thrive Convention
Abiding in His love,
PS Making sure I get enough sleep and taking naps when necessary are also helpful in my quest to be kind and safe. 🙂