It’s The Simple Things

It seems like so much of life is about the simple things.  I heard recently that if a person gets seven or more hours of sleep per night they will be more productive and positive in life.  Yet, the average American only gets somewhere around six hours of sleep per night.

We know that when a family takes time to share meals together that it builds connection and communion within the home.  But, many schedule their lives so that meals consist of grabbing something on the way to the next event.

Many of us are aware that reading God’s Word can feed our soul, encourage our hearts and allow for God to speak.  We recognize that attending church services fills our spirits, touches our lives and inspires us for the week.  Yet, many of us get busy with other things and leave off the ones that matter for eternity.

So, allow me to challenge you to get to bed more regularly, eat meals with your family more consistently, read your Bible each day and attend church services every week.  You’ll be more productive, positive, better connected, encouraged and inspired, so, who doesn’t want that?  Here’s to a sweet ’16!

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Reinforce It

Posted in Character, Parenting by PCraig on January 22, 2015

Do you ever feel like a repeating track, saying the same things over and over?  One of the most important tasks that a parent can do in the life of a child is reinforcing what’s important.  Children (and adults) learn mostly by repetition.  So, a parent has to be ready to reinforce the values that are important time and time again, trusting it will one day pay off.

Now, I wish it didn’t work that way.  It’s not fun going over the same things again.  It can be draining and even seem like they will never get it, but you just have to keep reinforcing it anyway.  I know you’ve told them to wash their face so they don’t get breakouts, but they would rather be doing something more fun.  So, a good parent keeps reminding them that, “If you want clear skin, then you have to take care of it.”

The problem is that parenting isn’t the only thing you and I have to do.  There’s work, projects, home responsibilities and other obligations.  It can make it seem overwhelming to have to remind your children of good behavior, but keep your eye on the long run.  It may be tiring to have to continually say the same thing or similar things over and over again, but many of us learn by repetition.  So, suck it up parents and stop whining at your kids and instead step it up and reinforce values.  It may seem like they’re not changing, but over time, you’ll be glad you didn’t quit.

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Fasting For Our Kids

Posted in Fasting, Parenting, Prayer by PCraig on January 7, 2013

Guest post by John Money

I am calling out to you today to join me in focusing on fasting and praying for our children and youth today!  Most of the kids/teens start back to school tomorrow and will be back into their school routines.  For some kids this is no big deal.  For others, school is such a challenge and even a great burden/source of stress.

We can lift them up during our fast and they will be covered by the prayers we are stacking up for them today.

Ezra was a man who was leading an expedition with women and children back to Jerusalem and knew that there would be many dangers that the children would face.  So Ezra did the most powerful thing he could do…..He proclaimed a Fast.

Ezra 8:21 – I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.

Ezra knew the power of having a group of people fasting, humbling themselves before the Lord and specifically asking for safety for their children.  He was confident that the Lord would honor their humble act of prayer and fasting.  And the Lord did!

Ezra 8:23  -So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

Ezra and the people fasted, prayed, pleaded with the Lord for the safety of their children on their long journey…..and the Lord answered their prayer.

Let’s follow Ezra’s model.  Here is my prayer this morning:

Dear Lord, we are fasting today and praying in order to be as connected to you as possible.  We are also fasting and praying for our children and asking you to protect them in their young lives.  Lord, we pray that as they go back to school tomorrow, that you will be working powerfully in their lives.  Please fill them with your Holy Spirit and guide them in your truth.  Help them hunger and thirst for you and your Word.  Help them stand firm against the devil’s wicked schemes.  We know that the enemy seeks to “steal, kill, and destroy” but you have come that they will have “life to the full” (John 10:10).

Lord we pray for our children to know you, love you, and serve you with all their hearts.  Help them love you more than the darkness of this world.  Help them walk closely with you today.  I pray that you would put a shield of life around our children and protect them from all harm.  Guide them into the great purpose and plans you have for their lives – Amen.

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How To Raise A Juvenile Delinquent

Posted in Parenting, Relationships, Weekend Reflections by PCraig on May 17, 2012

I found this on the internet, and it was attributed to the Houston Police Department as 12 Rules for Raising a Juvenile Delinquent:

1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes

2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he’s cute. It will also encourage him to pick up “cuter phrases” that will blow off the top of your head later.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21, and then let him “decide for himself.”

4. Avoid the use of the word “wrong.” It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around – books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others.

6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but don’t worry about his mind feasting on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.

8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his. Why should he have things as tough as you did?

9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.

10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him!”

12. Prepare yourself for a life of grief. You’ll surely have it.

Even though I’m not sure of the source, it does give some good food for thought.  Which ones do you think matter most?  I really think the indulging of kids, along with excusing their bad behavior without reprimand is key.  This past weekend, I dealt with the topic of discipline in the home and had great feedback.  If you weren’t able to be with us, you can listen to the podcast from our webpage:

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Posted in Parenting by PCraig on January 12, 2012

One of the most important roles that a parent can play in the life of a child is reinforcement.  Children do not learn things the first time around – unfortunately.  So, a parent has to be ready to reinforce the things that are important time and time again, believing that this will be the time it takes hold.

I know this doesn’t sound fun, can be draining and even seem futile at times, but kids need reinforcement of the things that are important.  You may have told them that brushing their teeth is important, but they may not think it’s that valuable and is stealing some of their playtime.  So, a good parent reinforces why it’s necessary to take good care of your teeth by saying, “You’ll thank me one day for helping you with this when you don’t have to be in pain one day.”

Parents work hard, plus have so many irons in the fire and obligations that it can seem overwhelming to have to remind your children of good behavior, but keep your eye on the long run.  It may be taxing to have to continually say the same or similar things over and over again, but many of us learn by repetition.  So, suck it up parents and stop whining at your kids and instead step it up and reinforce values.  It may take a lot longer than you think for them to catch on, but when they do, you’ll be glad you stuck with it.

What are some other principles you think are important in parenting?

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Do vs Be

Posted in Character, Christian Lifestyle, Parenting by PCraig on July 7, 2011

If I could give my best advice to any parent and only had one shot at it, this is what I would say, “focus on being more than doing.” In other words, what you are is more important than what you do. Most of the time we go around asking, “What can I DO about raising a teenager, or getting my child to cooperate, or not drive me nuts?”

Instead of spending so much energy looking into techniques and tools to manipulate our children into doing what we want them to do, I think we’d be better served focusing on modeling. If we would model the right behavior then our kids will know how to react when things don’t go their way. Warning: this also works in reverse, when we show bad behavior, it teaches our kids negative ways to respond to circumstances.

Christianity is not just a weekend sport. It needs to take place as a daily lifestyle. When it does, it produces a powerful example of how to be instead of what we do. Instead of just church being what we do, it’s who we are that matters most. Let’s focus on living it in front of our kids! Isn’t this the tough part?

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Show God Off

Posted in Christian Lifestyle, Parenting by PCraig on April 28, 2011

Each day we have opportunities to show what God is like.  This is especially important in regard to our children.  As spiritual beings, they have a desire to know God and often ask silly questions in their search for answers.  Their yearning for information is our opportunity to help them in spiritual growth.  Here are some ways to make an impact:

  • Teach about God as our Heavenly Father (see Deut. 6)
  • Weave spiritual lessons into everyday activities
  • Openly thank God for nature
  • Read the Bible where you kids can see you
  • Thank God at each meal
  • Place reminders of faith through your home
  • Do life with others at church to better connect your kids
  • Lead your family to church each week

These are just a few I came up with, what are some of yours?

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What Will You Teach Today?

Posted in Christian Lifestyle, Leadership, Parenting by PCraig on April 6, 2011

What will you teach your children today?  Some will teach how to get angry.  Others, how to be unhappy.  More will show how to be ungrateful and greedy.  While others will demonstrate selfishness.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  We have a choince as parents to impact the next generation and help them to show a greater depth of character than we do. 

The trouble for many is that they don’t understand that they are always teaching something.  Therefore, the question is not “WILL you teach…?” Instead, it’s “WHAT will you teach…?”   Ps 78:4 We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.  5 For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel.  He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, 6 so the next generation might know them-even the children not yet born-and they in turn will teach their own children. 7 So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. 8 Then they will not be like their ancestors-stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.

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Date Night

Posted in Marriage, Parenting, Relationships by PCraig on February 28, 2011

Every week I look forward to “date night.”  What is it?  For us, it’s a Thursday evening where we make arrangements for our daughter to generally go to her grandparent’s house for the night.  She loves it (they spoil her) and we love it (we get time alone)! 

In my opinion, a date night does several positives:

  1. It gives uninterrupted time for the couple to reconnect in a busy schedule.
  2. It shows the child that your marriage is important to you (they grow to respect this).
  3. It demonstrates what kind of marriage they should strive for later in life.
  4. It further shows that your home is not child-focused, because one day they will leave. 

 Some of you may say, “Yeah that’s great, but we don’t have family close by to watch our kid(s).”   We haven’t always had this either so, here are two suggestions:  hire a sitter (your marriage is worth the money) or, trade off with another family each week, so you watch their kids one night and they watch yours another. 

 A strong marriage gives kids a sense of stability, strength and confidence that provides a solid foundation for their lives.  One of the best gifts you can give your kids is a great relationship with your spouse.  Get it on the calendar!

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Parental Influence

Posted in Parenting by PCraig on February 3, 2011

Just recently, the Barna Group did a study among teenagers and discovered that the person they most look up to in their lives is usually their parents.  This study can mean good news or bad news.  It’s good news if you’re doing a good job in being a leader worth following.  Bad news if you don’t want your children following in your steps, because they are looking your way anyway. 

This just confirms what I have always believed, that parents are the primary influence over their children and cannot ignore that responsibility.  As a church, we desire to come alongside you and try to strengthen your position, equip you with tools and inspire you to be a great influence. 

If you want to read the entire study, just go to and you can read all he has to say on the topic.  As a parent of an elementary age child, the influence is even greater than when they reach the teen years. 

What do you do with this information? 

  1. Take your job seriously as the most powerful influence in your child’s life
  2. Understand that you have this time to take advantage of your influence
  3. Do the things you want to see your child doing: going to church, reading the Bible, praying, being honest, showing kindness…

Parents, you have this moment, so make it count!

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