kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: January, 2014

Connect Through Commitment

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – Connor called home yesterday from Liberty and got to hear about our “snowstorm”. He regretted missing it and wanted to hear how we were doing. So mom got to inform him of the snow, that quickly turned to ice in most of Atlanta. And how it had gone from being called “Snowjam 2014” to “Carmageddon”.

Unfortunately, I had  front row seats to it. Around noon I had walked in to a restaurant across from the CDC, to meet a new spine surgeon in town. A few flakes were falling, but not sticking. When we finished lunch and walked out an hour later the sidewalk was already covered in snow. I spent the next couple of hours trying to get out of Atlanta. My office texted me that people who had flown in to meet me were in gridlock on I-85, so I had decided to go Peachtree and stay on secondary roads. That way I would have options on places to pull into if necessary to eat or sleep. Peachtree was a slow, painful, parking lot, moving a foot every minute or so. It took me over an hour to go about a mile, and I was still 23 miles from the office.

I begin to wonder where I would sleep as the icy conditions worsened.  My 4×4 Jeep I drove could easily negotiate the snow. It was the 1000’s of cars in front of me that could not. Finally I saw a landmark, the Dunkin Donuts in Brookhaven, that reminded me a close friend lived near by. I called Grant and he graciously insisted I come by. And I accepted, thinking I would wait out the traffic, and then head out later that evening.

His wonderful wife was already baking brownies for us when I arrived, and he had a warm fire going in the den. Soon they were chopping up fresh vegetables, and we caught up on life as they worked in harmony to make me feel like an honored guest. The hot chowder was perfect for a cold day like we were having. We sat in front of the tv and watched the news about traffic not moving. I realized I might be there for the night. My hope of treking up Peachtree started to fade as the hours passed, and the cars didn’t. Grant, his wife Michele, and their son Cole, made me realize how blessed I was to be in a warm place, when so many were not. 

I hated being away from my family, but if I had to be away from home, I couldn’t think of a more welcoming place to be. Grant and I who have known each other for over 30 years, talked into the night. When I got up early the next morning, he was already up waiting on me in the den. We caught up on our families, our friends, our struggles, our victories, and life in general.

When I finally headed north, just before lunch, they packed me food just in case I ran in to problems. I was glad I had chosen that route.

When we sat down for dinner the night before, I learned the Campbell’s have a neat way they bless their food. They go around and each one says a short prayer. Cole thanked God for the food we were about to eat. Grant and Michelle both prayed that God would protect the 1000’s of stranded motorists who were still stuck in their cars. I thanked Him for His provisions, for His love….and for the Campbells!

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A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 NIV)

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Connect by Being Candid

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad –  I so appreciate the way Kris has raised our kids to talk with us about anything. I somewhat expected it with Connor our oldest. I even could see it with our one daughter, Lacy. But I have to admit that I was surprised to find Evan as open with us.

Kris just has the uncanny ability to put them at ease. I have walked in and found her in deep conversation with one of them, sometimes all of them. They’ve also heard about or seen her have candid conversations with friends over marriage, children, business, finances or religion.

It should have come as no surprise when each of our kids came to us with situations where they were trying to give advice to a friend in need. They were simply modeling what they had seen their mom do time and time again.

Today Kris told me that Evan was going to have a talk with a friend. It seems he and Lacy are both concerned about the recent behavior of that mutual friend. He is a good kid, from a good family. He just happens to be starting down a path that is not wise.

I am so thankful that all three of our kids have watched their mom praise or compliment them in public, and correct in private. I see them doing the same thing now as they grow older. Like Kris, they have all learned to try and correct a friend when they are up, and not down. And I would like to think they can take the same type correction given them, in the proper way.

When I look through the Gospels at the life of Christ, I find that He sometimes corrected people. But, I sincerely doubt any of them walked away after looking in His eyes…not knowing that He cared for them….

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An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.  (Proverbs 24:26 NIV)

Connect by Being Considerate

You must make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember God forgave you so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Back during the Christmas holidays Lacy and I were watching the news.  In several places people were crushed to death or badly injured when doors were opened for business on big sale days. The footage we watched showed people getting knocked down, and then no one taking the time to help them up as they ran by them, or worse, stepped over them.  The humanity seemed to be replaced with some ugly, something totally self-absorbed.

I guess that’s why I don’t like to shop on those kind of days. It would be so hard to stay kind and considerate when everyone around you is cutting in front of you, and grabbing the red widget you were reaching for because its on sale for the next 30 minutes. Black Friday, and some of the other special sale days have turned out to be the antithesis of what our Christmas season symbolizes. I guess that is why so many comedies are filmed about the Christmas season.

Lacy and I are an anomaly when it comes to shopping. We might head out to shop for something. On the way we probably are going to grab a coffee at Dunkin Donuts, or maybe first munch on some nuggets at Chick-Fil-A. Eventually, (sometimes hours later) we reach our shopping destination. We stroll in and casually look around until we find what we are looking for. We do try to be good stewards, so we will look for the best price.

Lacy has made it her thing to always compliment the person checking us out. Sometimes depending on where we are, especially if its a discount store, and its late in the day after people have been working for 8 hours on their feet checking rude customers out, it can be a real challenge to have something nice to say to them. But Lacy always can find something to say. She might like the ear rings, or their bracelet, or their glasses they are wearing. And when she does compliment them, almost inevitably they stop what they are doing, look up at her, smile, and say thank you. The first time I saw her do it, I asked her afterwards, “did you really like those hideous ear rings?!?” Lacy looked at me with that “you silly boy” look. She said “Not really, I just wanted to be nice to her.”

WOW! What would Black Friday look like if more people had that mindset? After seeing the expressions of the people Lacy’s kind to, it’s convicted me to be more like her.

Now that I think about it, I wonder what it would be like to go shopping with Jesus? I bet He would still be at the Dunkin Donuts, sipping on some coffee, and hanging out with whomever sat down with Him….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)

Connect by Taking the Initiative

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people but to be wise and strong [courageous] and to love them and enjoy being with them” (2 Timothy 1:7 LB).

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – When Connor was probably 6 years old, we were out somewhere and he saw a little child in a wheelchair. The child didn’t look like other kids because of different problems he had with his spine. His smile wasn’t as pretty as the other kids.  The little boy didn’t seem to speak so well.

I can only imagine what must have gone through our 6 year old’s mind. Thankfully, Kris was with us and answered the litany of questions that came out of Connor. After a few minutes, Kris asked Connor if would he like to go over and speak to the little boy. Connor paused for a minute and thought about it. Kris talked him through walking over and saying hi, telling the little boy his name, and a few generic questions. She encouraged Connor to look the little boy in the eye and to smile. She also reminded him to do the same to the mother of the little boy.

Off our brave little 6 year old walked. His steps were timid at first, but soon they were replaced with purpose. I watched our little boy go over and say hi to the boy in the wheelchair. After a few minutes we realized Connor was comfortable with the situation, so we sat down to watch. Moments passed by. The conversation went on as the mother got involved, apparently helping answer some of Connor’s questions. Finally the questions subsided, Connor told the little boy goodbye, and walked back to us.

A few minutes later the mom caught up with us, and with tears streaming down her face, told us thank you. She went on to tell us that was the first time another child had come up to her boy to speak with him, and not make fun of him. She went on and on and ended up talking to Kris for several minutes, as her husband watched their son. For a few minutes we all saw a difficult world through her eyes. That event changed us all a little, but none more then Connor.

He helped us teach his siblings a compassion for people that even now I struggle to keep up with. Recently while home from school Connor and I bumped in to a kid from his old high school. The young man lit up when he saw Connor. As he spoke to “Con-a”, I watched my eldest smile and reply to the young man with special needs. As we walked away he told me that was one of his “special” friends he used to sit and have lunch with at school.

I look back at some of the “misfits” Connor has embraced and befriended over the years. I am reminded of Jesus. When He walked among us, He didn’t seek out the prettiest and richest. Jesus spent time with some of the “misfits” that society looked down on. He spent time with people who were broken. And to those who were willing, He Fixed them. Why? Because of His incredible love and compassion. If you don’t believe me, just look at His hands!

I cross paths everyday with “misfits”. A few people who are in physical wheelchairs, but many more in spiritual and mental wheelchairs. I pray that today I can impact somebody’s life, like my 6 year old did so many years ago…love on them a little, and point them to Jesus!…

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For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)

You Are Capable…because of God

RAMBLINGS From Kris’ husband – On a sunny Sunday morn, I met a beautiful blonde walking across the parking lot of First Baptist Atlanta. She was with some friends of mine, who soon introduced her to me. Our eyes met and I noticed two things, they were beautiful, and they were insecure.

She got embarrassed easily. She was often timid, and would break eye contact looking down to the ground. She was at times excitable and talkative, but quickly would retreat into the quiet, and let others take over. I watched this beautiful girl, and was intrigued with her. My girlfriend ended up being roommates with her and soon we were taking her on dates with us. She was like a little sister to me. Like all of us, I learned that she had some good experiences, and some really bad experiences in college. Hanging around me and my girlfriend, she found I had a few of my own. In our bible study class we were asked to tell a little about ourselves and I could see the dread on her face as the teacher went around the room. (Later she told me she was literally panicking on the inside with doubt and insecurity!)

Several months later my girlfriend and I broke up and I lost track of the insecure pretty blond. Life went on. Weeks and months passed. Then one Sunday I’m sitting on the end of the pew, and in steps the blonde. She walks toward me and grabbed the last seat next to me in the packed sanctuary. She looked more grown up and I have to admit there was a little tingle when our shoulders touched. After the service we talked and caught up, after not seeing each other for several months. A week later we found ourselves dating.

Two years later, I married that shy girl on a hot and humid Atlanta Saturday in the middle of July. Five pregnancies and 3 kids later, we have now been happily married over 22 years.

Guess what God did with that insecure and shy little girl? He started her working with kids our first year of marriage. Then a few years later it was co-teaching singles with me, and then young marrieds. I look back and realize that for 19 of the past 22 years that insecure young lady has been getting up in front of people. Kris has spoken in front of groups as small as 4 and as large as 1000, even had to use a translator in South America. I am still amazed at what she has been able to do, and how effortless she makes it look. She stopped listening to those doubts in her mind, and started listening to the Holy Spirit. It has been such a “God thing” for her.

That’s a far stretch for a young lady who hesitated to look me in the eye for more then 10 seconds at a time.  Its amazing what we can do when we stop listening to ourselves and start leaning on, and listening to God!….

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His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21 ESV)

How To Connect With People

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RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – When it comes to our kids, Evan is definitely one who would not do well without being able to connect with other people. He is very social and enjoys being around others. I like watching him. He doesn’t have to be the center of attention, and he doesn’t need it so bad that he will follow the crowd when he knows he shouldn’t. He has become his own man.

Recently I noticed he was no longer hanging around a certain friend. They seemed to really hit it off last year. When I asked him about it, sadly he looked at me and said that friend was making some bad choices. I reminded Evan that we need to be that friend that remains constant in our walk, so others can see the right path to take. He totally agreed. But then he shared something with me that was way beyond his years. He said “Dad, I was concerned he might pull me in.”  I immediately knew what he meant.

When Kris and I were singles we had a Bible study teacher at First Baptist that warned of “missionary dating”. Its where you try to win an unchurched person you are dating over to Christ. She used the analogy of standing on the side of the pool and trying to pull someone out who was drowning. She showed us through that word picture that if they were strong enough (or us weak enough) they could pull us in. One moment we could be up on the side safe and dry, and the next moment in the pool, wet, and not happy with our circumstances.

Evan recognized that in this particular situation, he needed to back away before getting pulled in. I wonder how often more mature people my age, don’t understand that danger, or worse, think they are strong enough, and in due time get pulled in.

God wants us to connect with those around us. We see example after example in the Gospels where Jesus connected with people. Bad people. Dirty people. People drowning in sin. But we must remember that He was infinitely stronger then us. And even Jesus had 12 guys hanging around him most of the time.

I am thankful I have a band of Christian brothers I meet with on Wednesday nights. We share our troubles and concerns. We sometimes come along side each other to keep the other from getting pulled in.

God tells us to be as wise as serpents, but as innocent as doves.  (Matthew 10:6)

Sometimes we Christians forget the wise part, and the next thing you know, some one is having to hand us a towel as we are helped back out of the pool….

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.  (Proverbs 27:9  NIV)

God Says You Are Lovable

He said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” (Daniel 10:19 NASB)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Growing up Lacy was a very active child. One time when the kids were little. Kris’ parents had Lacy stay with them overnight for some occasion. We realized quickly that things were peaceful at our house. Connor and Evan were quietly hanging out. In fact, at one point they were so quiet I thought they had gone to her parents, too.

That was the night we discovered Lacy was the spark plug for a lot of the craziness at our house. She didn’t necessarily do it all herself, but she definitely influenced the atmosphere! With that energy and influence, it is safe to say she was the catalyst for most of the “storms” around our house. And as any of my insurance buddies will tell you, storms can bring damaging results.

I did not always react the right way when things were broken. Sometimes my knee jerk reaction was to immediately think of the cost of the damage and react. Its truly amazing what a mischievous daughter with two willing assistants can do in a matter of seconds. I think that is what the weather people often say about tornados! (The question could be asked who are Lacy’s parents? Where did she get this genetic makeup? What were they like when they were her age? My sources tell me she is just like her momma!;)

But with all her messes, and trail of destruction over the years, my love has never wavered. I love and adore that girl! The good memories far outweigh the bad. And looking back, many of the messes and damaged things, can now be laughed about. At that moment it might have been big, but in the grand scheme of things, it was not.

The Bible says God has the ability to see us before we were born, see us making all our messes, and even see us in eternity. Unlike me, He never gets caught up in the moment. I guess that is why He can still love us when we are in the middle of one of our messes.

I guess that is why He was willing to let Jesus die in our place. He could see beyond the moments and love us constantly and unconditionally. He could see the finished product.

Thankfully, He is a much better DADDY then I am….

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“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and My covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  (Isaiah 54:10 ESV)

God Says You’re Forgivable

Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be His through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before Him. Because of His love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ He would make us His children – this was His pleasure and purpose.” ( Ephesians 1:4-5 TEV)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – Up at the Cloudland cabin this past week we got on the topic of things that happened when the kids were little. There were some great stories recounted about our three, and our friends 4 kids.

Stories were shared from blatant defiance to thoughtless creativity. The kids laughed as they once again heard some stories of their childhood. One in particular is of Connor when he was in diapers. Our firstborn was a joy most of the time, often with a dimpled smile on his face.

I will never forget an incident in our first house. Months earlier we had finished decorating an upstairs bedroom that we turned in to the nursery. The new white crib, beautiful multi colored curtains with baby blue accents, and white rocking chair, looked perfect the day we brought Connor home from the hospital.

One evening when he was around 13 months old, Kris went up to check on him. Minutes later I heard “OH MY GOODNESS!!….TED!!”  Up the stairs I went, not knowing what to expect. When I reached the door of Connor’s nursery, Kris stopped me with strange smile on her face, and said “you are not going to believe this”!

When I walked in and surveyed the scene, the crib, wall, and Connor had been bathed in a fresh coat of brown poo. His dirty diaper lay nonchalantly in the corner of his crib. Kris’ earlier reaction suddenly made perfect sense. The pacifier in Connor’s mouth left a perfect little round white circle on his brown face, when we took it out!

His expression was priceless – Hey mom and dad! This seemed like a really good idea at the time. But now, I am second guessing my decision. By the way, what is that terrible smell?!?

Several hours later, the room, and Connor, were once again looking, and smelling, clean!

Change the name from Connor to Ted, and there have been countless times in my life where it seemed like a really good idea…for a few minutes.

I am so thankful that Ephesians 1:4-5 talks about God, even before the world was made, knew me, knew all my stupid decisions I’d make, and still let His Son die for me.

That means when I make decisions that lead to me being covered in filth, He doesn’t see that, He see’s an IMPERFECT child, bathed in the PERFECT blood of Jesus…forgiven!!….

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“I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”  (Isaiah 43:25 ESV)

God Says You’re Acceptable

RAMBLINGS from Kris’ husband – Maybe eight years ago I was walking some property with my old roommate and close friend, John Tatum. He had a vision of getting some land and developing a little community for our kids to grow up on while making memories.

As we drove out on the overgrown field with weeds and thorns everywhere, I looked over and saw an ugly old run down house. Close by was a barn with the roof falling in. It reminded me of something. And then it came to me, and I fully expected to hear a banjo start playing off in the distance.

I was unimpressed as I took in what was around me. It appeared to be a run down old farm that had gone way past its usefulness. But then John started talking, painting a mental picture of the turn of the century community he could “see” there in it’s place. A little general store over there, an old one room school house over there, little cottage style homes along that ridge, and a lake at the entrance. Pretty soon I was excited at what I could see. I took a few pictures as I listened to him talk. We walked the property for a few hours and then headed back toward Atlanta.

Kris asked me how the day went. I showed her a few of my pictures and she was unimpressed. It seems my verbal painting skills were not up to John’s level. John went on to buy that old eye sore of a piece of land. Bought a couple of additional “eye sores” around it.

Over time Kris bought in to the dream, and 8 years later we were spending a week on that property with our family. That old run down ugly weed infested farm, is now one of our favorite places in the world. The memories and pictures we have through the years at that place, are vast, and priceless. And just as he painted it that day, John’s dream has continued to materialize over these years.

When God looks at us who have accepted His Son as our saviour, He has the ability to see us, not dirty, imperfect, and run-down, as the world see’s us, but as beautiful pieces of work.

Yes, we are a work in progress, but I am so thankful He can see me as acceptable right where I am, because He can see me where I will be…

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I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might  (Ephesians 1:16-19  ESV)

What God Says About You

Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Yesterday Evan and his two siblings, along with the Wofford kids, hiked with me and Mr.Wofford up to the cave. It was a great day for a hike with temperatures in the high 40’s. On the way up we went by the waterfall that still had some beautiful ice from the single digit temperatures earlier in the week.

Soon we were up at the mouth of the cave. The 62 degree water flowing out of it actually felt warmer then usual with the chill in the air. We made sure the kids each had several flashlights, in case one died or got broken. Off they went into the darkness and soon the cave’s blackness swallowed them up.

I had a great idea of building a fire for them. I knew when they came back out their feet would be freezing from the water they had to walk through. I started the fire, and then made sure the smoke was blowing out of the mouth of the cave (and not in). Mr.Wofford and I got busy and gathered wood to throw on the fire. Soon we had a raging fire, any dad would be proud of. A few minutes later the wind seem to change and I asked Joey if the smoke was going in to the cave. Our concern started to grow, when suddenly Lacy and Savannah came out coughing. Lacy looked at me and said “DAD! Are you trying to kill us?”

Feverishly I splashed water up from the caves stream on to our fire and seconds later it was out. Our hope of a warm fire to toast their toes, dashed! The girls in very dramatic fashion told us how the smoke started filling the cave with eerie shadows against their flashlights. Now they were cold and soon they were headed back to the cabins, soaked from above their knees!

Now I had to anxiously wait for the others to come out. This concerned dad was wondering how bad the smoke got before we extinguished the fire. Did I have five teenagers unconscious in the cave? I hiked in to see if I could hear them with the one flashlight we had. I whistled and yelled, and even tried Evan on the walkie-talkie. Silence. The only commotion I got was from several irritated bats. Reluctantly I came back out and waited with Mr. Wofford. The minutes seemed like hours. The hours seemed like days.

Finally we heard laughter, and minutes later out popped Evan and his merry band of spelunkers. He looked at the burnt pile of wood and then at me, smiled and sarcastically said “nice job dad!” I quickly explained that I had labored to build a fire so they could warm themselves when exiting the cave. My intentions were not to “smoke them out”.

The remainder of the day was lent to Dad jokes regarding matches and fire. They all had a good laugh and I was glad to be the butt of the jokes, with everyone safely back out of the cave!

I am so glad God has the ability to see our mistakes. He is able to see all the times we made the cave smokey. He is able to see when our actions made others “cough”. What I am especially glad of is that He also can look at our hearts and see our motive.

My prayer is today I will take the one talent He has given me, and I won’t go bury it, but instead try to use it for His Kingdom. And if I goof up, He will look past it, and look at my heart….

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His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  (Matthew 25:21 ESV)

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