Thursday, April 30, 2009

Family Friday

"Hi, Franklin," said the nervous voice on the other end of the line. It was the mom of one of my (youth group) teens.
"Ummm, I’m sorry to call at such a late hour. Is there…any way you could come over to the house for a little bit? We need your help. Our son has locked himself in his room and won’t talk to us. He’s pretty upset."
As I entered the house, Dad sat in a recliner, putting on a good face (for the youth minister) but obviously angry. You could actually smell tension in the air. After getting a report from Mom and Dad, I headed up the staircase to coax the teen out of his room and talk to his parents.

In a situation like this, how much privacy do you give your teenager?

How long should you give them to cool down?

First of all, make sure that YOU as a parent have calmed down! In the above-mentioned situation, I could tell the mom was fine, but the dad had not yet calmed down. While you wait, calmly weigh the "worth-it" scale of this argument. Try to put your logic into better words instead of "because I told you so!"

Wait long enough for both of you to cool off, but not too long. If you wait too long, your child will think: (1) the issue is closed (this may lead to a bad decision to do it anyway) or (2) that you don't love them (I know this is a little unfair, but that's the way they feel!) If you let this go on too long, the "No Parents Allowed" sign will go up on their door! Don't let that happen.

I am a firm believer in Ephesians 4:26 - "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry..." Solve all your problems before the day is over. Either compromise, apologize, or promise to talk about the issue again tomorrow.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS end your talk with a sincere "I love you" and a meaningful (appropriate) touch. Hugs, kisses, tousling their hair, wrestling...all these are great. This shows your child that THEY are more important than the issue at hand. Unfortunately, as our children enter pre-teen years, we stop the hugs and touches because we believe they don't want/need them any more. Trust me, even if they cringe, they want AND need those hugs from you!

Thankful Thursday

"Good morning, class!"
I am so thankful for teachers! Many times, these folks use their own money to pay for class materials. They genuinely care for other people's children.
I remember my teachers in Africa, who would swat the children who snickered when I attempted to read in Chitonga (the local language.) They would smile at me and urge me to keep trying.
I remember falling in love with Creative Writing in high school because of a gentle lady that spoke about writing with a gleam in her eye.
I remember Dr. Geiger, who taught us Greek...he taught us to enjoy it as well as study it.
I remember Dr. North, who just made everything in the Bible so understandable!
I remember Dr. Baird, who challenged me to memorize more Bible than I thought I could cram in my brain!
There are so many more. So many Sunday School teachers and grade school teachers that I haven't mentioned.
In my opinion, teachers should be paid more than movie stars and professional athletes. But maybe that's just me...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Textual Tuesday

The spiritual world fascinates me. Demons, angels...all these unseen things are interesting. The following is one of my favorite passages (from Acts 19) about such things:

13Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
17When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.

Some observations:
1. These Jewish exorcists wanted to experience the full responsibility of knowing Jesus, but they did not want to commit to Him. Notice they added the tag, "...whom Paul preaches..." to their incantation. It seems they did not want to take it upon themselves to preach about Jesus, but just to cast out demons in His name.
2. "One day the evil spirit answered them..." Can you imagine days of talking to this "evil spirit" and all of a sudden, the spirit answers back? Frightening moment! I think I would have passed out cold...
3. "...the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor." Despite the fact that the demon "won," the name of Jesus was still held in high honor! No matter how evil something may seem, there is always an opportunity to see and praise Jesus.
4. "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" I pray that my faith will grow to the point where, one day, the evil spirits know MY name. I hope that I will become a powerful warrior for God, and that the demons will say, "Let's get out of here, here comes that Franklin guy!" Do the evil spirits know YOUR name?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Family Friday

Another example of a parent trying to be a friend rather than a parent:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A mother and another woman face felony child-endangerment charges after a 14-year-old's birthday party that ended with two young teens being taken to a hospital. Karen Christine Downs, 43, of Kansas City, and Kelsee Guest, 25, are accused of providing liquor and beer to six 13- and 14-year-olds at a February birthday party for Downs' daughter. Two girls, one 13 and the other 14, passed out and were later taken to a hospital, according to court documents.
Downs allegedly offered $10 to whoever could chug a glass of vodka the fastest. Guest is accused of pouring the shots.
"We continue to work to educate teenagers and adults about the dangerous effects of teen drinking," Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd in a news release. "But understand this: It is a crime to give alcohol to somebody's child. And any adult who creates a substantial risk to the life, body, or health of a child can face felony charges."
Police responded to a complaint of a loud party at a home in northern Kansas City around 2 a.m. Feb. 22 and found the teenage girls, several of whom told investigators that they had been drinking heavily. One girl who was unconscious was taken to a hospital, where her blood content was later determined to be .218, more than twice the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.
A second girl also was taken to the hospital because officers believed she had alcohol poisoning.
"This was a very serious and dangerous situation," Kansas City police Chief Jim Corwin said. "We are fortunate we are not standing here discussing a homicide."
Officers found between 60 and 70 empty beer bottles and several empty liquor bottles scattered throughout the home's basement.
The girls told officers that Downs offered them shots and told them not to tell their parents about it. After running out of alcohol, Guest asked the girls if they had any money to buy more, Zahnd said, and the two suspects and one of the girls then bought another bottle of vodka.
One of the girls told police she had beer and nine or 10 shots of vodka, he said.
"I would like to think that the outrageous actions alleged in this case will be viewed by responsible adults as totally unacceptable," said Vicky Ward, coordinator of a community group that works to reduce teen drinking.
Downs was being held on $25,000 bond and Guest was being held on $20,000 bond. Both were cash-only.
The prosecutor's office said neither woman had hired a lawyer as of Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday

"Hey, what do you think about this scripture?"
"Franklin, God has better things in store for you."
"Dude, how is your marriage?"

They constantly challenge and push me. They ask personal questions that make me squirm, but then make me grateful that someone asked to keep me straight. We laugh and laugh when we are together at retreats and rallies. Some of our favorite things to discuss are God, the Bible and teenagers. They have walked with me through the best times...and they have watched over me in dark times.

Today, I am thankful for my ministry friends. (I apologize in advance...I'm sure I'll forget several great people!)

Youth Ministers: Tim Hall, Tom Dahlman, Todd Brumley, Dave Blanchard, Philip Quelle, Trent Baker, Jesse Anderson, Bryan Johnston, Rick Odell, Bobby Kern

Pulpit, Worship, and "Other": Jim White, Rusty Tugman, Lanny Jobe, Randy Johns, Jim Tuttle, Dudley Chancey, Shane Coffman, Robert Cox, Kerry Cox, Ricky Gootam

Can't forget those Superwomen (I mean, "Administrative Asssistants!"): Patty Coffman, Jamie Schoonover

These folks are active (and for the most part, paid) ministers. They understand what other paid guys go through. They are "in the fields" working and blessing many people.
Be sure to tell some of your favorite youth ministers/ministers/secretaries "Thank you" today!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Textual Tuesday

God must be trying to teach me something. Today's scripture kind of continues the thought from last week...

It all started when I found my new favorite website:
Here is a short excerpt from a section on Blessings:

"Jews normally do not say "grace" before meals (as do many Christians) but rather after they have eaten. They do not "bless" the food either, but rather acknowledge that God is the One who provides for their sustenance."

This prayer is called Birkat Hamazon.

The reasoning behind this "praying after meals" makes alot of sense. Listen to the words of Dueteronomy 8...

"10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

Sometimes truth needs to smack you right between the eyes for you to notice.
It's so easy to pray for God to fill my stomach...but then I don't praise him when I am full.
It's easy to ask God for help in difficult times...but it's also easy to forget to thank Him when He answers.
Last week I posted about Jesus praying after huge events and helping lots of people. I think God wants us to pray after small things (like eating meals) too.
Do not forget the LORD your God. Praise Him for all He has done.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Family Friday

*Family Fridays contain stories and tips on raising healthy, godly families.

At the mall playground, children were leaping from obstacle to obstacle. Their excitement was evident by the shrill squeals that bounced back from the white walls.

Our son, Fischer, was already out of the game. He and another boy had collided at full speed. The other boy's head was fine, but Fischer's eye was not so fortunate.

As I comforted Fischer, I watched two other boys playing together. Boy #1 jumped onto a playground obstacle and was joined a few seconds later by Boy #2. Boy #1 didn't like this and shoved Boy #2 off with a snarl. He proceeded to jump down and chase the second boy, swinging and kicking at him. Luckily, Boy #2 treated it like a game and was able to evade his aggressor.

Meanwhile, I was thinking, "Where in the world are his parents?"

There is a maxim that all parents should learn from this episode:
Inaction is just as powerful a teacher as action.

If parents do NOT correct their children, they are, in essence, teaching their children that said action is acceptable. When disciplining children, silence usually means, "Go ahead and do it!"

Parents continue to get weaker and weaker in the battle with their children. It boggles my mind how many people "let things go" that their children are doing...especially when it comes to common sense and courtesy. How can you let your child swing at other children? Or push them down to reclaim a toy? Or mouth off to another adult?

Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now!

But please remember that inaction speaks to your children just as loudly as action.

Thankful Thursday (on Friday!)

(Sorry I'm a day late!)

The mop moves back and forth across the gleaming floor. He takes the last few swipes, disposes of the mop, proceeds to the next room and plugs in the vacuum cleaner. There is trash to be taken out, things to be picked up. There are toilets to be cleaned and cobwebs to be removed. There are desks that need dusting and odor removers that need replacing.

I am thankful for janitors!

These people work long and hard to keep our facilities nice, and often with little pay. They take on the job that not many others want.
Thank you, janitors, for your work! We don't always say it, but we appreciate you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Textual Tuesday

"41Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42They all ate and were satisfied, 43and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

45Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray." (Mark 6:41-46)

Did you see it? Let me print it again and try to make a word pop out at you...

"After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray."

We seem to have nailed the idea of praying BEFORE an important event:
  • The test
  • Labwork that may reveal cancer
  • The wedding
  • The event you've been planning for a year

Where I seem to fail in following the example of Jesus is praying AFTER...

  • ...the marriage begins
  • event went off without a hitch
  • ...I bombed my test (or aced it!)
  • ...the lab test comes back positive (or negative!)

When a life event is over, we either (1) congratulate ourself or (2) tell ourself to learn from it and move on.

Perhaps we should lean on God AFTER an event as well! It seems awfully selfish to ask God for help before-hand and then take the credit afterward! And yet, I've been guilty of this SO many times in my life.

So next time, take a page from the life of Jesus: Pray before AND after that important happening in your life.

Changing It Up

Yes, I know I've changed my blog 5 billion times already this year...
However, I seem to have entered a rut, and want to challenge myself. So, starting now I want to give people more than just my family stories (although I am still free to post them!)
Here is what you will be seeing at this website in it's new test phase:
Textual Tuesdays (sometimes the Bible, sometimes another text!)
Thankful Thursdays
Family Fridays (Hints and tips for families to excel)

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


"All pilgrims will receive complete absolution for all sins committed while on crusade, and should death befall anyone who takes the cross, his soul is assured swift admission into paradise."

How could a people be so duped into believing such things? How could a church allow their priesthood to have so much power as to claim that they can absolve sins? Didn't Jesus himself say "Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

It's interesting to read about the Crusades. Even though the book is just a fictional story based on history. ("The Iron Lance" by Stephen Lawhead.)

Another interesting quote:
"'The blood of the enemy will be a rich sacrifice for God and His holy church,' the captain of the guard replied."

The blood of the enemy? What about, "serving our enemy will be a rich sacrifice for God?!" Killing our enemies sounds nothing like Christ.
Interesting to read about the darkest chapter of Christianity and get a glimpse into their belief system.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I bought this book as tool to help me in forming classes and sermons, but I've found myself just reading it and enjoying it!

If you want a book with some good, wise, thought-provoking quotes, go grab this book!

Some samples:

"If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen - nothing else matters." - Jaroslav Pelikan

"To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong admit it,
Whenever you're right, shut up."

- Ogden Nash (My wife cheered when I read this to her.)

"I must not think it strange if God takes in youth those whom I would have kept on earth until they were older. God is peopling eternity, and I must not restrict him to old men and women."
- Jim Elliot (martyred at age 29 in South America.) (This quote really makes sense to me when thinking about my teenage friend Sam Thomsen who died in a tornado last year. God just wanted him in heaven!)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Smiling at God

I wonder if God feels like parents do?
I mean, God is "our Father," right?
Do my experiences give me a glimpse of what God might feel for His children? Let me give some examples...
When my children come to me with their problems, I am honored. It's not a power trip. No, I would love for my kids to be able to handle their own problems. But, since I love them so much, I WANT to help them!
When my children smile at me, my heart just melts. I'll do anything I can just to see a grin! But here's the best part: when I manage to make them smile through tears. It's those times when my children understand that Daddy loves them, even when life is rough.

Have you smiled at God lately?