Monthly Archives: December 2014

Life is but a vapor…

vapor

James 4:14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

I recently saw a video on YouTube portraying the days in our lives using jellybeans.  I would recommend watching it here.

I spoke a few weeks ago on this subject.  The typical life expectancy is the USA is 76.  When you compare the years that you have on earth with an eternity, we are here for an extremely short time!  In that time, you are born dependent on others, and you spend your childhood and teenage years preparing for life.  But you eventually reach that age where you begin to have an impact on others.  That brings us to the point…what will you do with that time?

We put time and energy into doing something…we need to make sure that time and energy is being used for something worthwhile, and that we are giving it our best effort!  Our impact can last an eternity!

For example, my grandfathers on both sides were preachers.  They raised their children in the church, and passed on an Apostolic heritage.  In turn, my parents took the values and lessons learned by their parents, and instilled a love for Christ and a passion for ministry into the lives of both my brother and I.  Now my wife and I are trying to raise our children to have a love for Jesus Christ, a love for the church, and a love for ministry!  This is the effect of Grampy and Grammy Kline, and Grandpa and Grandma Puckett, alive and well all these years later!

This goes beyond family though!  Many years ago, when my great-grandmother was a child, her mother took her to stay with a family in Indianapolis, IN.  This family attended an Apostolic church.  They took my great-great-grandmother and her children to church with them, where they were baptized by the Rev. GT Haywood.  The ministry, and life of GT Haywood, all these years later, is still affecting our family across this nation.

So the question again remains, what will you do with your time?

Will you work hard at a job, to build up a bank account, that really will not last very long and be forgotten?

Will you try to be popular, and have a large group of so-called-friends, that will probably abandon you when something better comes along?

Will you try to have the nicest house, most expensive car, and best manicured lawn?

Or will you reach out to someone, and share with them God’s love?  Will you train up your children to serve the Lord?  Will you get involved in your church and do everything you can to help your church fulfill the great commission?

As the song says, ‘Only one life, so soon it will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last!’

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A letter to the younger me…

I recently hear a question that got me to thinking.  If you were to write a letter to the younger you, what advice would you give to yourself?  While I understand that there is no going back to change choices and decisions one has made, and there is no way to go a different path in your past, wisdom from our experiences has a definite potential to help others to make better choices!  Do we not owe that to the next generation?

My letter to the younger me:

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Dear me,

You are young!  You don’t know everything!  Take time to sit and listen to the elders.  There is such a benefit to listening…don’t speak…just absorb the knowledge you can receive from their conversations.  Learn from them, respect them, serve them…one day you will be able to draw from their knowledge.

While you are in school, take the time to study.  Focus on getting good grades.  You only get one chance, so make it count.  Those good grades will help you get scholarships.  Find a good college and go.  Get a degree!  Don’t plan on waiting…when you wait you won’t go back!  And if you do, it will be much harder!  What’s another four years right now?  If you don’t, then one day, that piece of paper will be the only think that holds you back from getting a good job.  Get a degree that will help you to get a job making a decent wage.

Pay attention in piano…and practice, practice, practice!  It may be easier to pick out the notes, and play by ear, but one day you will wish you had practiced more when given the chance.  Most people either play by note, or play by ear, but if you can do both there is no stopping you!

Learn to live with less.  We live in a society that feels the need to have excess.  You can be happy with less.  One day you will wake up and realize that.  Learn it now, and save the money, and years later, you will have the money, and not the junk.

In everything you do, give it your best.  There is no point in taking the time and energy to work on something, if you don’t do your best.  Someone else will then have to come behind you and correct your mistakes, and that will tarnish your reputation and creditability.  In all that you do, give it the best of your ability.

One thing you definitely don’t struggle with…keep on reading!  Books are investments!  Keep reading them…don’t stop reading them!

One more thing…go easy on your parents.  One day you will have kids, and you will understand your parents much better.  They are doing their best to make you a better man…respect that!

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My Child and Church

Matthew 19:14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

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I recently had a conversation with someone on children and church.  My opinion has always been, my children belong IN church!  A lot of churches have nurseries available, so a parent can drop their child off, enjoy the service, pick their child back up, and go home.  When our children were still young, a group of parent in our church wanted to start a nursery in our church.  My wife and I discussed it, and decided our children would not be in the nursery.  It has nothing to do with whether or not we trusted the nursery staff, as we definitely did trust them!  The issue, is that as parents, we have a tendency to take the easy way out.  It’s much easier to let the children play, while we attend service!  But the question is, what are the children learning?  While the nursery may sing some songs, have a short story time, and obviously play time, is this teaching our children to sit and listen to the preaching, to participate in the service, to sing, or to behave during the service???

Our children are MUCH smarter than we give them credit for.  Children learn quite quickly, if I fuss and cry, mom and dad will take me out and let me play.  At the same time, children will very quickly, if I fuss and cry, mom and dad will take me out, punish me, and bring me back into church!  It is much easier if I sit quietly and don’t have to get taken out of church!

Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Joshua 24:15  …as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Train your children to serve God…to come to church…to stay in church…to respect the church…to participate in church!

And while I’m on my ‘soapbox’…keep in mind, children learn by example!
Do you participate in the service?
Do you praise?
Do you follow along, or do you play on your cell phone?
Do you get behind the preacher?
Do you respond to the altar call?
Do you make sure you are in church when the doors are open?

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Social Media Etiquette

Social-Media

Social media…there are SO many options!  Which ones do I join…which ones do I avoid…what works better for friendships versus business ventures…how can I post do multiple venues with one posting…it can all be QUITE overwhelming!  Then there is the debate among some, is it acceptable for me, as an apostolic, to join social media?  Of course with social media, there is an open door to a rapid relay of information, and the opportunity for gossip to travel at the speed of light.  I, personally, have found that regardless of the type of social media, the opportunity is still there to relay information as one would like.  Regardless of the social media ones may join, there has to be some core principles applied to the use of it!  When in an online community, you must have the same principles that you would in your regular community!  Below are some of my thoughts on the usage of social media:

Watch what you say!  For some reason, people get online and completely remove any filters!  They feel an openness to say whatever they want, to anyone they want, about whatever they want!  They reveal personal emotions, hurt feelings, slander others, make side comments about others, and such…

If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online.

If there is a possibility of a comment being taken wrong, don’t say it online.  Make it a face-to-face conversation.  People can read your message, and apply whatever tone they want to the message, and take it out of context.

If you disagree with someone’s post, don’t start a fight online.  We are all welcome to our personal opinions, and chances are, you have NO possibility of changing their opinion on a social media site.

Be careful who your friends are!  I would not sit around and listen to someone using foul language in real life.  I would not sit around and listen to someone with a lack of morals telling their racy stories in real life.  There are some people who have such a foul spirit about them, that I would not associate with them in real life, as I don’t want that spirit rubbing off on me.  There are some people in real life who like to take your truth and twist it and began to spread lies about you, that I wouldn’t talk to them in real life for fear of the repercussions.  Then why would I want to associate with them online, and allow them personal access to my information?  Be careful who you associate with.

Be careful what you share!  Be careful what information you put out on the world wide web…remember…regardless of your privacy settings, it is still the WORLD WIDE web!  And it’s there to stay…FOREVER…regardless of if you delete it, or close your account!  On a server somewhere…or perhaps floating somewhere in the clouds….is still whatever information you typed…waiting to get into the wrong hands!  Some private stuff should stay just that…private!  But we get in a room by ourselves, and feel like it’s ok to post pictures or make statements, that later on we might regret.

Remember, you talking to everyone!  You know what I mean, we have conversations sometimes with friends, and then other conversations with our boss, and other conversations at church.  Guess what…that post online…became a conversation with ALL of the above!  As a matter of fact, it was a conversation with a potential future employer, a potential future friend…anyone who ever looks you up online, gets to see that post!  If you wouldn’t broadcast it from the roof of your house with a megaphone, don’t say it online!

Really…we don’t need to see a new picture of you ever five minutes!  Sorry…can’t resist!  Selfies…every 30 seconds….not necessary!  We haven’t forgotten what you look like!  We don’t care that you can pucker your lips like a duck!  If you’ve forgotten what you look like, use a mirror, not social media!  Also, we don’t need to see every plate of food ever sat in front of you, (and yes, I do occasionally post my food) ever art project your children make, etc.  And PLEASE, PUH-LEEZE!!!!, stop sharing EVERY piece of Facebook chain-mail, news article, and such…I promise, you won’t get rich my sharing it, you won’t win a free phone by sharing it, none of the stores have free merchandise they can’t sell that they are waiting to give to the first 5,000 sharers, you won’t die for not sharing it, and luck has NOTHING to do with Facebook!

Be slightly selective in what you share…ALL your friends will appreciate it!

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Discipline

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Have you ever noticed…it can seem like everyone is an expert on how you should raise your kids.  And especially, those who have no kids.  I can remember my pre-children days…I would see children horribly misbehaving (from my point of view), and would boldly think to myself…’my children will NEVER act like that’!  And then…my wife and I had children!

Parenting can be a struggle some days!  You can at times get that overwhelmed feeling!  But then when they’re sound asleep, you quietly slip in their room, and watch them sleep, appearing so innocent!  Children are a blessing…I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I want the best for them.

Psalm 127 3-5  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them…

We live in a world that teaches that children should only be rewarded, and that punishment is not an option.  A few years ago my wife and I attended a course on discipline, in which the instructor began to teach that discipline does not involve punishment, only choices and rewards.  Her concept was punishment is completely negative and should not be involved in child rearing.

Proverbs 13:24  He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Unfortunately, there are several issues with the philosophy of no punishment!  First of all, life is full of consequences!  If you don’t perform adequately at work, you get fired.  If you get fired, you get no paycheck.  If you get no paycheck, you don’t pay your bills.  If you don’t pay your bills, you lose your house and your car.  My question would be, are the social workers going to be there to bail the children of today out of their financial struggles when their child rearing philosophies produce a nation of adults that are unable to face the consequences of life?

Second, as I watch children who face no punishments, or consequences, and as I observe the parents beg and plead with their children to behave, it becomes quite apparent to me that the philosophy of no punishment is NOT working by any stretch of the imagination!

Of course, one must be careful and have a healthy balance in the forms of discipline utilized!  The goal is to raise a child into a responsible, participating, contributing to society adult who has morals and convictions!

Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Discipline:  Discipline would be a healthy balance of expectations, rewards, and punishment.  Along with the expectations should come a good role model.  While there are some activities or behaviors designated for parents and not children, at the same time a parent needs to model expected behaviors for a child.  In example, if I don’t want my children to swear, why would I swear?  If I want my children to exercise, I should exercise!  If I want my children to clean their room, I should clean my room!  Children learn by the example of their parents!

Rewards:  I do believe in rewards…but not everything in life comes with a monetary reward!  I eat healthy so I feel good…I shower so I don’t smell…I take my medication so I don’t get sick…I pay my tithes because I want to do right by God!  No one pats me on the back…no one gives me a cookie…there is no immediate reward for some expected behaviors.  I also don’t get an allowance from my wife when I do the dishes, or sweep the floor.  She may say thank you and give me a pat on the back…but this is my house, so there is an expectation!  When it comes to children though, if an allowance is offered, there must be an expectation of what is required to gain the allowance, and when the chores aren’t completed, there must be a follow through!  No chore = No allowance!

Punishment:  Sometimes parents can get too ‘punishment happy’!  There should be NO thrill attached to punishment!  You should NEVER be happy punishing your child!  And, if you find that you are constantly punishing, you need to take a step back…your child is not getting the concept you are trying to push!  Why?  NO child enjoys punishment, and no child will pursue punishment!  So where is the break in communication that is causing you to feel the need to constantly punish?

Are the expectation clear to the child, and are they constant?  (What I get punished for today, do I get away with tomorrow?)

Is the child at an age of understanding the expectation, and the punishment?

Does the child ever get positive attention?  Children CRAVE attention, and if they don’t get positive attention, they will misbehave just to get attention, even if it is negative!

Does the child feel loved by their parents?

Does the child see others get away with behavior they are punished for?  (This includes mom and dad!)

When you feel like all the attention you are giving your child is negative, take a step back!  Evaluate the child’s behavior.  Evaluate your behavior.  Evaluate the circumstances.  Evaluate the other influences in the child’s life.  And keep in mind…there is no ‘one size fits all’ method to raising children!  Every parent has a different personality, and every child has a different personality.  What works for one family, may not work for another.

And don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help or guidance!

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