Month: November 2012

Waiting for the Prodigal to Come Home

Point your kids in the right direction – when they are old, they won’t be lost. Proverbs 22:6 (Message)

The holidays are especially difficult for people waiting for a prodigal to come home. Many are hoping that children, spouses, and friends will return to their faith and leave the destructive lives they are living. Empty chairs at dinner tables during the holidays are stark reminders that not everyone has decided to follow the Prince of Peace.

Recently, it seems I have spoken with scores who are feeling this pain and often I quote the Scripture above from Proverbs 22:6. I am not attempting to give them simple answers to complex situations, but this promise is rich, still. Most parents are hard on themselves, remembering all their failures when their children were home. All of us who have ventured on this road have stumbled along the way, wishing we had been more intentional with our message or our witness.

This passage is so hopeful, not because it promises an instant result from a prescribed spiritual formula, but because the real hope is not in our prowess as parents, but in the faithfulness of God who created our children in the first place. He is faithful to our kids and he wants our faith even when there is no proof that those we love are even paying attention to God.

The Holy Spirit is really good at getting our attention, especially when the prodigal has reached the bottom. Parents have told me that jail and prison were the salvation of their kids because nothing else seemed to shake them from their deception. I sure hope none of our kids end up behind bars, but I am prayerful that all of our kids will have deep revelation of just how much grace there is for them.

This I know – we must be faithful parents who speak truth, love deeply, extend extravagant grace, build real relationships with our kids and pray always for their heart to know Christ. Even after all this, I am even more hopeful that God is with our kids and will one day, bring them home.

If you want read more about this, get a copy of Sons and Daughters which tells the stories of many prodigals who have found their way home, including me.

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Why Live Streaming Makes Sense

For the past year or so, we have live streamed our Sunday services to people in over 90 countries. Anyone can watch the entire gathering from their laptop, phone or tablet anywhere in the world where there is adequate internet access. The technology has advanced super fast in the past few years, making it easier for churches of every size to take advantage for several good reasons.

1. People who are sick at home get to join us in worship. People who are caregivers and those with chronic illnesses can quickly feel isolated from their church families, but this allows church to literally come to them at a time when they really need encouragement.

2. Our members who are deployed in the military watch from bases worldwide.  We are a military town and we stay connected with them with live streaming. One soldier in Afghanistan told me recently his entire unit crowds around the laptop to worship with us live each week.

3. People “check us out” online before actually attending. Numerous guests have told me they were curious about our church and wanted to watch the service online to get to know us, and to see if we handled snakes. We don’t, by the way.

There are some challenges, for sure. The sound can be sub-par, so your worship team may complain a bit and some people will use the online streaming as a lazy excuse to stay home.  Don’t let either reason keep you from reaching more people with technology that takes your worship gatherings around the world at very little cost.

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Sons and Daughters Now Available

Just a few weeks ago, I released my newest book, entitled Sons and Daughters. It is a collection of stories from my family and from friends that I have met over the past decade. The book attempts to answer three very important questions that each of us must answer:

1. Is God a father?

2. Does God really want to adopt us into his family?

3. If the answers to the first two question are yes, how will this change the way I live with others?

This book is one of my core life messages and I really hope you will take the time to read it. The book is great for all ages, but I especially believe young couples, high school and college students will find the message of sonship really compelling. The ideas in the book will help us be better parents, better spouses and better friends.

You can order it right now by clicking here or pick it up at any bookstore, including the bookstore at New Life Church. I sure hope Sons and Daughters encourages and strengthens you.

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