Category Archives: Parenting

True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: My Living Room Is An Octagon

My son, Easton, turned 9 months old and when it happened it was as if all of his motor neurons began firing at the same time because he is now a power crawling, belly scooting, table pulling up on, stair climbing freak show.  Gone are the days of being shackled by gravity and uncoordinated appendages because things are clicking and he’s “getting it” fast.

As a result we no longer have a living room fit for entertaining guests because it has been transformed into a UFC Octagon.   You know what I mean.  It’s the fighting ring the MMA guys use for two grown men to step into a ring in their underwear and punch each other in the face until one of them taps out or an arm breaks then hug it out when it’s all over.

That’s what my living room has become.  Our couches, end tables, and every possible dining room chair we have is used to create a barrier to keep my son from climbing or tumbling into a trip to the emergency room.  You would think we were raising a small puma and not a human baby because inside the ring are rubber toys and the occasional rice puff to entertain Easton for a few minutes.  It’s silly sauce.

As goofy as this may seem I would dare to say you would probably look at me equally as crazy if I didn’t do any of that.  I mean, what if I just let Lil’ E grab, climb, touch, throw, or ingest anything he wanted to?  Wouldn’t THAT be nuts?

No one says anything about protecting a small baby from danger by restricting where he can go and what he can touch but when God puts perimeters on our spiritual lives we lose our minds.

  • What do you mean I can’t sleep with whoever I want?  It’s my body and I can do what I want!
  • Don’t tell me I need to forgive my father.  You don’t know what it was like to live with him and he isn’t worth forgiving.
  • You want me to give up my time and serve at church?  Listen, it’s my time and the fact that I’m going to church is good enough.

We never balk at the Grace that wipes our sins away, but we bristle at the thought of God expecting us to change our ways.

God’s design for our life is not made to be a hindrance in our life but a deliverance from it. Yet to receive the fullness of that deliverance from our sinful life we need perimeters, guardrails, and directions in our life to follow.

Solomon says it well,

Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.

I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble. 

Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.

-Proverbs 4:11-13

As a parent, sometimes we need to set up guardrails to keep our kids from harm and this is no different than our Heavenly Father.  His love for us is so great that He sent his son Jesus to create the ultimate guardrail to prevent an eternity apart from him.

Only when we see Him face to face will we comprehend how important that barrier truly was.  The earthly perimeters He asks us to place on our lives are simply there to keep us from unnecessary scars and bruises which will hamper us from the total joy found in a life following Him.

So maybe take a fresh look at the living room of your life and see where some “sin proofing” is in order.  The only person that will look foolish is you if you don’t.  When you end up at the bottom of the stairs wondering what happened, it won’t be because God didn’t give you guardrails to prevent it.


5 Lies Satan Wants You To Believe About Divorce

One of the most painful things I see as a pastor is families torn apart by divorce.  Being a Christian doesn’t seem to insulate you from the divorce virus either.   50% of all Christian marriages will fall into divorce’s vicious snare this year too and many of them will end because of 5 lies Satan wants you to believe.

Married friends, here are 5 lies Satan will whisper in your ears to get you to call it quits on your marriage.

1.  God Wants Me To Be Happy

Satan wants you to buy into the idea that above anything else your happiness is preeminent.  He wants you to believe that the person at the office, the girl on the screen, or the guy at the gym will provide the “fun” and “happiness” that your spouse isn’t providing.  If you believe this, divorce becomes the means to obtaining the mirage known as happiness.  The truth is divorce will give you anything but happiness.  It will rob you of your joy, peace, trust, and will stain not only your life but your entire family.  Happiness is not found in the lies of Satan.

2.  My Kids Will Be Better Off

Satan wants you to look at your children and believe they would be better off if you and your spouse didn’t fight anymore and lived separately.  He whispers in your ear that if you just get rid of him or her your kids will be less stressed and will thrive!  After all don’t they deserve better?  Sadly we listen to Satan and not our kids.  Ask any kid of divorced parents (excluding abusive situations) and they will tell you the splitting of their home destroyed a piece of them.  “Better off” isn’t a perfect family with no problems it’s a family that stays together despite ups and down.  “Better off” is two parents that fight for their family and don’t bail when things get hard.  “Better off” is setting an example for your children so that they are not scared of relationships for life, but gives them an example to emulate.  “Better off” doesn’t listen to the lies of Satan.

3.  My Spouse Deserves Better

Satan wants you to be a martyr by believing the lie that your spouse deserves better than you.  He will remind you of all your wounds, baggage, and faults and then juxtapose them against what appears to be your spouse’s perfection.  He’ll tap and tap and tap against your spirit until you open the cage door on your marriage so that you can allow your spouse to fly free.  The glaring problem with that logic is that it requires you to have operation of your spouse’s mind, spirit, and decision making.  Somehow you  arrogantly put yourself in charge of what they want and you decide their future for them.  Guess what?  That ain’t your decision to make…that’s 100% theirs.  Grow up and stop listening to the lies of Satan.

4.  Things Will Never Get Better

Satan loves to tell you that your marriage is hopeless and things will never get better.  He will trap you in the darkest corner of the cave of your relationship and have you hold your hand up to your face to show you there is no hope of seeing light.  He wants you to believe that the best has already happened and the future is not bright but dark as night. So why try?  It’s better to just cut your losses, part ways, hit the reset button, and lick your wounds as you limp away.  Hopefully you can heal up enough to grab another Kleenex in the box of life and find a new partner.  One with more hope.  Can I remind you of something?  Life is tough and when you enter into marriage it becomes part of your life so therefore marriage is tough too.  Buck up buttercup and get back in the fight.  Stop making long term decisions for short term problems.  Satan is a pathetic, lying, scum of the earth whose only goal is to rob you of any hope.  Don’t give in to him when God has a light that breaks through all darkness and can sunburn your marriage with His light.

5.  Divorce Isn’t That Big Of A Deal To God

Satan’s biggest lie is that God doesn’t really care that much about your marriage and whether or not it survives.  God has bigger things to worry about than whether or not you and the Mrs last until death do you part.  He has a whole universe to keep from spiraling out of control so why in the world would He care if you leave him for the “greener grass” on the other side of the street?  The problem is that God cares about all the things that He is a part of and that He made.  Marriage is no exception.  He is the bond, the glue, the third strand, the binding force that adheres us to our spouses in good marriages and bad.  It’s a sacred union that God in fact used as the imagery for the relationship of the church on earth and Jesus himself.  Don’t believe the lie of a lonely and hopeless Satan who has no chance of reconciliation with the father.  Instead believe the Truth of the Father who gave His one and only Son not only to save you from your sin, but to save your marriage from anything it’s up against.

So stop listening to the lies of Satan and start listening to the voice of Christ telling you that you CAN make it.  Put the pen down, stop the lawyers, put an end to the finger pointing and embrace the peace found in reconciliation.  Let the God of healing do what He does best.  Heal you.


What Future Are We Leaving Our Kids To Choke On?

This very moment only lasts as long as the breath we have to live it and beyond that nothing is promised.

The moment between that next unpromised breath is called the future.  This future is something we have no control over but is what we leave for those left behind when we are gone.  In most cases, this is our children.   These are the recipients of the future we leave them whatever that may look like.

In today’s world we have lost sight of the future we are leaving our kids.

It shouldn’t surprise us though because as the world thrust itself down the Slip and Slide   of individualism and self promotion there is little time or energy to think about what our selfish lives leave in it’s wake.

Instead of leaving our kids a healthy legacy to look to as an example we are leaving them the residue of a life scraped for every last morsel spent on ourself.  Our kids are choking on our life exhaust and are gasping for air as they live their own.

Here is some of our life’s second hand smoke they are choking on:

  • Marriages – Parents we are leaving over 50% of our kids with the stain of divorce to  deal with and overcome in their relationships.  Even as Christians they will now have to wrestle with what the Bible says about marriage and divorcee and what we’ve taught them through our actions.  We need to leave our kids a better future.
  • Finances – Adults are leaving the next generation saddled with more debt than the world has ever seen.  Cost of living, buying groceries, owning a home, and even student loans for college will be more difficult than ever before because of the decisions we are making now.  We need to leave our kids a better future.
  • Addictions We have found a way to become addicted to more and more things every day.  Gone are the days of “simple” drugs and alcohol addiction because now we’ve added the complexity of social media, prescription drugs, pornography, cell phones, sports, and even our kids!  We need to leave our kids a better future.
  • Individualism - Never before has the world been more focused on themselves.  Reality TV, plastic surgery, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and even Youtube hits all are two thumbs pointing back to who we think is most important.  “This guy”.  We need to leave our kids a better future. 
  • SpiritualismOur world has diluted itself into a spiritual soup that believes in nothing and everything at the same time in order to maximize our happiness.  Right and wrong our now relative to the greater position of “only if you think so”.  The God of the Bible has had to share the stage with the god we want Him to be and our world slowly fades the True God into the background of our lives.  We need to leave our kids a better future.

My prayer is that we all can break out of the cocoon of “me” just long enough to truly examine what is being left in our wake.  As Christians, we need to decide now that we want our kids to have a strong marriage to model, a financial pattern to mirror, a healthy balance of life, a value of loving others more than ourself, and a life anchored, centered, and unwavering around the God of the Bible.

Then and only then may the words of Solomon ring true in our life and the future of our children.

“My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.

Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;

for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.

Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm. 

Do not swerve to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.”  - 
Proverbs 4:20-27

Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in what the world wants your life to look like and let yourself get overwhelmed with what God wants your life to be.

If we allow God to do that, we are sure to leave a brighter, cleaner, prosperous future for our children that won’t leave them gagging.


True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: I Love Phillip Phillips

My son is much more…how do you say…vocal than our daughter ever was at this age.  Whether it’s a farty noise, a giggle, a whine, or a cry he is pretty much always trying to make his presence known.

Usually when he’s in the car is his moment of silence, but every now and again when he’s over tired or just sick of being in his straight jacket of a carseat he will really let us have it.  No amount of car gymnastics from the front seat to blindly put his pacifier in while you keep the car from going into on coming traffic will work either.  Not even big sister with her silly antics can calm the beast.

There is but one thing…Phillip Phillips.

That’s right the American Idol winner whose song “Home” you’ve heard ad nauseam at the 2012 Olympics, the song you hear on every commercial, and the song that will instantly turn my son into Silent Bob within the first note.

We’ve tried other songs to no avail, but literally by the first pluck of the acoustic guitar Easton is transfixed.  However, just like Cinderella’s magical night the second the song ends the party is over and he is back to whatever bad mood he was in.

So what does any sane, logical, well educated father do?  Put that bad boy on repeat and learn all the words to the stinking song.

Don’t judge, you’d do it too and you know it!

So what is your “Phillip Phillips” between you and God

How do you in the middle of life’s temper tantrums calm yourself and focus yourself back to God?

I can’t tell you how important this is to your spiritual health and growth.  Having time to reconnect with God in a way that has no distraction, no timetable, and no agenda is vital to realizing a full and meaningful relationship with Him.

Jesus was our model for this practice.

In Luke 5 we read about Jesus calling the first disciples and performing miracles in the town he visited.  Let’s face it, the stress we feel with expense reports and backed up lines at the drive-thru are not quite as stressful compared to healing leprosy and selecting the men to start the Church.  It’s no wonder that Jesus was exhausted.

“But isn’t He God?”, you may ask, “How can God get tired?”

The beautifully relatable aspect of Jesus was His humanity.  That while being fully God He was also fully man meaning he experience and felt all the same things we do including fatigue.  And what Jesus does when fatigued is something we should all learn from.

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”- Luke 5:15-16

Jesus withdrew from the chaos and the work to pray and connect with His Father.  Even with all the people still needing healing, disciples needing discipling, and ministry left to do, He stopped, dropped, and prayed.  It’s how He recharged His batteries for the next phase of the journey and He did it “often” Scriptures tell us.

My challenge to you and me is to be like Jesus today.

Now, before you go trying to walk across the pool at the local High School keep reading.

I want us to be like Jesus in the sense that we need to take time to connect with God just like He did and not feel guilty in doing it.  There is always things to do, places to go, and work to be done, but taking time to recharge with God is what will let you do those things with more clarity, confidence, and holiness.

God isn’t oblivious to your busy schedule, He just wants to be part of it. 

So make a point crank up some Phillip Phillips and let the world slip away so you can calm yourself and connect with your Dad.

I guarantee it will begin to feel just like Home.


5 Things Dads Can Do To Serve Their Wives With A New Baby

Being a dad for a second time, I have quickly learned that serving your wife is even more important after the baby comes.  Since I bumped my head a few times along the way with my daughter when it came to helping my wife I decided to do better with our second child.

Now I don’t get it right all the time, but I wanted to pass along a few things that I know have made a difference for Cherie and I.  These are extremely practical, but I’ve learned that simple goes a long way my fatherly friends.

1.  Wash Anything You Can Find:  I really mean it.  If it’s dirty make it not dirty.  Here is a small list of things that could use your muscles and soap of varying kinds:

  • Laundry
  • The kid(s)
  • The dishes
  • Her car
  • Her pumping equipment (don’t be a sissy)
  • The baby bottles
  • The diaper pail (outside with ventilation is recommended)
  • The bathrooms

Serve your wife well.

2.  Get Up At Night:  I don’t care if you and your wife chose to feed the baby in such a way that disqualifies you anatomically or not. Get your booty out of bed.   She may do the feeding, but you can do the burping, rocking, and putting back to bed.  If you are doing bottle feedings, then take a shift even if you are working the next day.  Let her choose the shifts she wants and don’t moan and complain when you get the crummy one.

Serve your wife well.

3.  Let Her Have Time To Herself:  I know what you are thinking.  This means you will have to say no to playing video games, going to a softball game, watching TV, and staying late at work.  Can I tell you a secret?  You are right!  Create time where you are the one that takes the load of the baby and let your wife get her nails done, go to the store, drive around in circles in the Home Depot parking lot.  I don’t care!  Just let her do what she wants to do.

Serve your wife well.

4.  Bite Your Lip Even If You Have To Bite It Off:  You may be right.  Your way could be better.  You may even see Jesus in a taco chip, but don’t say anything unless it encourages your wife.  Why?  Flash back to the room where your child was born.  Remember that?  You didn’t have anything to do with that and it hurt more than you think and so she deserves an extra scoop of grace.  Your wife needs you to love her not fix her.   She needs you to listen not lecture.  She needs you to lighten her load not weigh it down.

Serve your wife well. 

5.  Pray For Her Out Loud:  Can I just tell you a secret?  Moms may look like they have it all together, but inside they are always questioning if they are any good at being a mom.  They need us as husbands to encourage them every second of the day and to pray for them often.  I’ll take it one step further.  They need us to pray out loud for them.  We can say we are praying for them, but they need to hear the words we feel.  They need to know that you are asking God’s protection, guidance, and healing on them.  When you lay your fatigued head down on that pillow and the urge is there to nod off for a couple hours of sleep before your “bundle of joy” alarm clock goes off…pray.  Pray for your wife, for your family, and for God’s grace to cover your home.

Serve your wife well.

Men I will say it straight.  We need to get over ourselves and focus our attention to our wives.  They have need us more than ever as husbands and as fathers, but only we can decided if we want to fulfill those roles well.

Don’t miss out on the blessing it is to serve your wife and to watch her grow into the woman of God you desperately desire.


12 Things I Forgot About Having A Baby (Pt. 2)

My son Easton continues to do great and thanks for the prayers!

If you want to see some pictures follow me on Facebook at

Here is Part 2 of the 12 Things I Forgot About Having A Baby.

6.  A Baby On Your Chest Is A Glimpse Heaven.  This doesn’t take too much explanation. When your baby curls up on your chest and falls asleep you realize with every deep breath that God gave you a blessing like none other.  I want to bottle this feeling so badly because there is nothing like it in the world.

5.  Counting By 3’s Comes In Handy.  As Cherie and I construct our nightly feeding game plan we quickly realized that we do in fact use some of the math we learned in 1st Grade.  12, 3, 6, 9 feedings are coming at you as sure as April 15 is coming for taxes.  If you screw this up you might as well consider yourself toast for the rest of the day.

4.  Changing A Diaper Is Exhausting.  Trying to change a poopy diaper without getting any “condiments” on you is virtually impossible.  Not to mention that you have to be a 3rd degree black belt dodge flying arms, legs, and parts.  If you make it through unharmed you feel like you deserve a Congressional Medal of Honor.

3.  You Cannot Swaddle A Baby Too Tight.  I believe I could go head-to-head with a Chipotle burrito wrapper and win when it comes to swaddling a baby.  Both our kids like to be wrapped so tightly in their swaddle blankets that you think you may have to cut them out of it.  However if we didn’t do this our kids both have hands they don’t know what to do with as badly as Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights and will wake themselves up by flaying themselves in the face.

2.  Babies Have Split Personalities.  Babies can be jerks.  Babies from 7:00 am – 9:00 pm are the sweetest things on earth as they sleep through anything including a 3-year-old big sister.  Babies from 9:00 pm – 6:00 am are insane, evil, and make you want to pull your eyebrows out because they won’t sleep for anything!  But then they flash that cute “I just farted, but you think I did it on purpose” smile and everything is good in the world again.

1.  God Uses Babies To Multiple Love.  Before you have a baby, you think your love expenditure is at it’s maximum and you have nothing more to give.  Then God opens secret ventricles in your heart that you never knew about when you see that baby.   Your love expands and God is awesome.  I thank God everyday for Aniston and Easton.  They have allowed Cherie and I to learn what unconditional love is all about and then to realize this is just a glimpse into the unconditional love God has for us.


Well that’s what I’ve forgotten about babies, but don’t worry it’s all coming back to me.  I can’t wait to see what God teaches me through now being a daddy of 2 so stay tuned!!!!


12 Things I Forgot About Having A Baby (Pt. 1)

I’m sorry I’ve been away for a little while, but my wife and I were busy giving birth to our son Easton!  Ok, Cherie did much more of “the birthing” and I did much more of the standing around and encouraging, but at the end of the day I’m a daddy again!

We are so very grateful for the prayers and support as little Easton tried to follow in his big sister’s footsteps a little too early and have a NICU stay of his own.  God truly answered our prayers and we are fortunate to be able to leave on time with our son in tow!

If you want to see some pictures follow me on Facebook at

Well, it didn’t take long to realize that in the past 3 years I had forgotten a few things about having a baby.

Here is Part 1 of the 12 Things I Forgot About Having A Baby.


12.  Labor Is Crazy.  One minute you are sitting at home watching DVR’d episodes of Judge Judy and 4 hours later you are in a hospital room watching your wife become a member of the Avengers as she gives birth to a 7 pound miracle!

11.  Doctor’s Are Really Aggressive.  It still is mind melting to me that as parents we hold our children like delicate porcelain dolls only to hand them over to doctors and nurses that play with them like GI-Joes in the back yard.  “Easy Doc!  That took some work to get here!”

10.  Men Could Never Give Birth.  Ignoring physiology all together, guys don’t have what it takes mentally, emotionally, or fortitudenly to get 6-10 pounds of baby out of a car seat let alone…well…themselves.  God knew that if the human race was going to exist it would have to be up to the woman because the man would tap out way to quickly.

9.  Leaving The Hospital Feels Like You Got Fired.  This seemed so ironic to me.  I mean if you think about it, when they say you need to go home, you are escorted to the front door, your stuff is boxed up, and they won’t leave until you alone until you drive away.  The only thing missing is a severance package and a maybe an exit interview!

8.  Burps Are God’s Release Valves.  I quickly remembered how amazing the sound of a burp was after a bottle-feeding.  Those little gaseous releases makes the whole world right again.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that I hold my breath the whole time I’m patting his back so when the burp comes that means I get to breathe again.

7.  Poop, Pee, Breast Feeding, and Nipples Are Ok To Talk About Publically.  Not that I’m chomping at the bit to throw “poopy” in on a daily basis or anything, but I remember now that there are fewer faux pa words when babies are in the picture.  People actually will strike up conversations around bowl movements and milk production, when normally those don’t make the top 10 of first date conversation starters I don’t think.



….Stay Tuned for the last 6!