Congratulations, Stephen & Jessica!!

We had a wonderful get-together before the wedding!  For once, I had all 7 of my young-uns in one place!  After the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, I said, “Hey, let’s get some family photos!”  So the pictures you see here are the best kind  – impromtu, unstaged, and unplanned!  Fun!

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Kathryn, Jonathan, Stephen, Sharon, Lydia, Johanna, and Jason!

 

This crowd is every bit as nutty as adults as they were when they were kids.  Not only do they remember the most inane things (“Mom, remember the time you had morning sickness when you were pregnant with Sharon and threw up in the kitchen sink?”) there is never a dull moment even now (“Alright, Jason, let’s have a stick battle!”)  I love every bit of it.

 

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My Beloved, Jessica, Stephen, and me

 

The wedding was truly beautiful.  Jessica did a wonderful job planning everything, and her mother and she worked so hard on the decorations!  Everything went so smoothly, and it was a very happy ceremony.

 

Lydia, Jonathan, My Beloved, me, Stephen, Jessica, Sharon, Kathryn, Johanna, and Jason

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And it’s all because two people fell in love…

 

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Have a great day!

 

Lisa

Lionproof Part 2: Meet the Overcomers

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Last week, I began a series on Lionproofing our children – Protecting Our Children from the Attacks of Satan. We talked about the typical carnage we see today, with 85-90% of young people in Christian homes jumping ship as soon as they turn 18. Today, we’re going to meet the 10-15% who have Overcome, and in future posts we will learn what they already know.

My young-uns, standing in order of age: Kathryn, Jonathan, Stephen, Sharon, Lydia, Johanna, and Jason!

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Having seven children of my own, some already grown and serving the Lord themselves, I am intensely interested in the subject of retaining the next generation. I’ve watched the enemy stalk them! Some of my close acquaintances have had child after child turn 18, only to turn from God and live completely different than the way they were raised. It doesn’t have to be that way, however! I also know families who have had young person after young person turn 18 and continue on the path of serving the Lord.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to talk to parents who have raised their children for God successfully, to find out what they did? As I thought and prayed about that, I began to wonder, Why not talk to their adult children, and get the REAL scoop. If I could find out what their parents did right, how wonderful would that be? Finally I realized that if I could talk to a whole bunch of young people who are serving God and ask them about their childhood experiences, there may be many answers that are consistent with each other, and we would have some good, solid information.

I became possessed with a singular thought: instead of asking the question, “Why do many young people leave?” I want to know “Why do some stay? In other words, how did some young people survive the attacks of the Devil? And more importantly, how can I help my own children overcome?

So I began interviewing second-generation Christians. I talked to many third and fourth- generation Christians, as well as a few fifth or sixth generation Christians! Someone surely did something right, and they are carrying the torch from generation to generation.

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As I interviewed these young people, my goal was to find similar traits or qualities in the way their parents raised them. These people are completely diverse from each other, so finding similar answers would be very crucial. If several people gave the same answer to a question, then I knew that that point had more validity to it. Perhaps there are certain concepts and philosophies that produce happy, godly young people, no matter the personality, locality, background, or age of the parent. These are the things I began looking for as I interviewed folks.

Before we talk about any of the principles, I want to introduce you to The Survivors. Each person I talked to met the following qualifications:

  • Believe in salvation by grace through faith
  • Are actively serving God in a local church
  • Are active in evangelism
  • Are training their own children to serve the Lord

Through these interviews, I have been able to discern patterns of successful parenting practices. These parents have well-adjusted, happy adult children who are actively serving the Lord. I have taken these patterns and outlined them as well as I could. I then used the exact words of the second (or third, etc.) generation Christian to explain the patterns, just as I received them. The result is that the principles in this book are not just theories; they are not just someone’s opinions, they have been proven by generation after generation of Christians who have raised their young people to love and live for God. This is not just chronicling my experience, or how I’ve done it, but it shows how many people have done it, and their parents have done it, and in many cases, even how their grandparents and great-grandparents have done it.

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Next week, join me as The Overcomers Speak Out: The Primary Key to Success

Linking up at:

The Alabaster Jar

Wedding bells are Ringing

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This Saturday is the big day for Stephen & Jessica!! We arrived in town on Tuesday evening, and of course, life has picked up the pace ever since. We had the privilege to sing (& my husband preached) at their church Wednesday night – what a blessing!

The rest of the family is coming in sometime on Friday; it will be a joy to all be together again!

Pray that the gospel will be received (even if it is a wedding!) and that people will be saved.

Since this is such a busy time, I will not post again until next week.

Lionproof Part 1: Witness the Tragedy

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The Predator is on the move.

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1 Peter 5:8 states, “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Satan has targeted our children.

Whether we are aware of it or not, there is a great battle being fought in the world – and souls are the objective. Satan has deceived an unbelievable number of our second generation, telling them that Christianity is simply not worth it. Many others have been paralyzed for one reason or another, rendering them numb, useless in the service of the Lord. It is a spiritual epidemic sweeping our nation, taking with it our most precious possession: our children. They are streaming out of our church doors by the thousands, their arms tightly linked with the world, walking lock-step (whether they realize it or not) with the Predator.

One lady of my acquaintance, who is normally quite cheerful, grew very sober as she spoke of her older brother. “We were raised in a good Christian home, but as soon as he got out of the house, he stopped going to church,” Dianne said sadly. “He’s older than I am, and hasn’t been to church in about 27 years. He’s just not at all interested in the things of God, and my parents wonder if he ever really was saved. The sad part is the effect this has had on his children. His family is in shambles – his marriage is virtually nonexistent and his kids are heavily involved with drinking and drugs.” This lady and her brother were raised in the same home, but are philosophically worlds apart now.

Somehow, Dianne was Lionproofed, while her brother became victim to the Devil. While she was yet young, she made some important decisions to love an serve the Lord. Her brother, by contrast, threw his hat in with the world and the Devil, exposing himself to a dangerous life of sin.

As we travel the country, we see an alarming trend in America today. Huge numbers of young people raised in our churches are leaving church as soon as they turn 18. In fact:

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  • The Assemblies of God conducted a 10-year study and found 75 percent loss of their students within one year of high school graduation, while the Southern Baptists found that number to be even higher at 88 percent loss. And Josh McDowell Ministries reports 94 percent fallout within two years of high school graduation. (The Christian Post, January 12, 2006)

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Why is it important that we Lionproof – to protect from the ravages of Satan – the second generation?

  • When many of the second-generation leave the church, it leaves fewer workers to win others.
  • Those who do jump ship are such poor testimonies of those raised in Christian homes, it is almost like putting a sign up stating, “Christianity is toxic.”
  • The impact of those who jump ship is very detrimental to those who stay in church. Many times, in the backs of the minds of the faithful is the question, “What happened? Did I do anything to make them leave?” And what of the wayward children’s parents? Many of them are broken-hearted over the loss of their kids, and the drain on their lives is difficult to measure, let alone put into words. The predator is on the move, but we do not have to fall for his lies. Losing one child to the world is bad enough, but let’s learn what we can before we lose any more. It’s high time we figure out what’s going on, and do something about it!


    Are you ready to do something to Lionproof your children? Leave a comment and let me know! And then, join me next week as we Meet The Survivors – those who have withstood the attacks of the Devil and remained faithful!

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Of Sharks and Men

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Don Reed was a professional diver who fed tank sharks for a living. He had a healthy respect for the creatures, but still developed a special bond with one of his sevengill sharks. There were many times when he felt that just perhaps the shark was bonding to him as well – until the day he felt her powerful jaws clamp down on him!

You see, Don made a dangerous mistake: he allowed his emotions to get in the way of what he knew to be true. He knew all along that she was a shark, and that he could at any moment become shark food. But he wanted to believe that she was different than she really was. Thankfully, he survived the incident with relatively few wounds, but the words of a friend left a greater impression on him than the sharp teeth: “If you truly love an animal, you must love it for what it is, not for what you want it to be.” It was then that he realized his mistake, but he also began to appreciate her for what she really was – a slim, graceful water creature who would always be a shark.

Friends, when I read this story, it just about knocked me over! Here is one lost man telling another lost man something that many Christians never even think about, let alone understand.

I have a wonderful husband who loves me desperately and takes good care of me, but there are many times when I let my expectations of him get in the way of his sweetness. I cannot expect him to act in a given situation the way I would act. He is simply not me! (And that’s a real good thing, by the way. Could you imagine being married to yourself? J) To expect him to watch the children the way I do, or clean the way I do, or do anything the way I do would be completely senseless, and the sooner I figure that out, the better.

I must love him for what he is.

This requires a good, hard look at the facts, which we often try to sugar-coat. We want things to go a certain way, and then get upset when they don’t go that way! It also requires that we understand that our way may not always be the best way. Now, I’m not talking about living a godly life – that’s living God’s way, not our way, and His way is ALWAYS the best way – but I am talking about the day-to-day tasks that do not have a right and a wrong way to do them, like washing dishes, or scrubbing the table.

Notice that I am applying this to the upline of our authority – our husbands – not to the downline of our children. If you are trying to train a child to set a table, and you want it done a certain way, then by all means, require that it be done the way you want it done. But don’t expect to train your husband! If he wants to set the table backwards, just be glad he is setting the table at all!

Love him for what he is. If he is a man who barks orders and then whirls around and expects you and the children to follow, then love him for his command man personality (and fall in line quick! J) If your husband is very slow to make decisions, then love him for the fact that he is very careful before choosing one way over another. If he has a million idealistic ideas, then love him for his desire to change the world. Realize that if even one of them gets accomplished in his lifetime, that will be of greater impact than the vast majority of men accomplish.

Love him for what he is, not for what you want him to be!

Making the Leap into Victory

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Though I was young, I was brave . . . or was I? I stood on the top of the 30 foot platform overlooking the pristine lake and briefly wondered if I had lost my mind. I was only 11, and very slightly built, so I appeared much younger. Could I really dive off this platform – headfirst – and survive? Maybe I had lost my mind.

Then I looked down at the crowd of kids at the foot of the platform. I already pushed past them and told them I was going to do it, and they didn’t believe me. Earlier, when I noticed some teens standing at the foot of the platform arguing over who was going to jump, I stood defiantly in the crowd of strangers and declared, “I’m going to do it! You just watch!”

As I climbed the ladder, I could hear the incredulous sounds of the doubters, staring up at me in awe. I told them I would do it. I climbed the ladder. Now I had to jump.

With new resolve, I turned to the edge of the platform. In a few seconds, I felt my body hurtling to the edge. . .

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I find myself on the edge of a high precipice today. I’ve been writing this blog for years, and that will continue. But I’ve been researching and working on a book, as well, and I stand on the edge of the platform, knowing it’s time to get some of that information out.

I’ve talked to hundreds of people, I’ve interviewed dozens, and I’ve spent years writing the manuscript. I stand here, quite nervous, but with great confidence, about to take the plunge. With a full heart of resolve, I am compelling myself to the edge.

Starting next week, hopefully on Monday, I will begin a series on “Lionproofing” our children. Satan is after our kids, so how can we keep him from destroying their lives? I’ve interviewed dozens of second-generation Christians, and the Lord has kindly showed me many answers.

Next week, I will take the plunge and begin sharing this information with you.

. . . reaching the edge of the 30 foot platform, I leaped off the edge in a dive. I closed my eyes and felt my body plummeting forward and tried to keep my body as straight as I could. After what seemed like ages, I hit the water, going down, down, down. Within seconds, I swam back up, and broke the surface, victorious! I may have been afraid, but I did it anyway!

Are you ready to make the leap with me, as we learn how to Lionproof our children?

See you next time!

Lisa

Three Words to Think About This Independence Day

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Happy Independence Day! It’s been a wonderfully lazy day for me so far, and I thank God for the freedom to have a day to relax.

This past Sunday, a young man stood up in church and read the Declaration of Independence. His voice cracked, and he was moved to tears several times, thinking about the great sacrifice many have paid that we could have this freedom. Because of his heartfelt reading, I paid careful attention to the words. The last words of the Declaration were the most powerful:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Here are three special words to think about this Independence Day:

Pledge – to commit by a solemn promise.
Do we Americans, we our divorce rate well over 50% and our debt sky high, commit much to anything? If we do commit, do we follow through?

Fortunes – wealth
Where do we put our treasure? Is our money all tied up in debt so that we could not live for God or others even if we wanted to? Are we willing to put our money where our mouth is, and support freedom – freedom here in America as well as spiritual freedom?

Honor – a good name or reputation
Here’s the word that really makes me think. We tend to think so lightly of our reputation, only thinking what gratifies me at the time, and not choosing to live with dignity and honor. Do we live with honor? Is being an American an honorable thing? If we are Christians, are we living in a way that will honor our Lord?

I hope you all can take a few minutes this Independence Day to reflect on our freedoms, and what it cost many. May you choose to live with honor, dignity, and integrity, and may you take your stand for right, no matter what the cost.

Live Courageously!

Lisa

Standing Proudly By Her Man

Here is an older post from the archives. I just love this woman’s spirit, and it makes me smile to remember her courage as she stands by her man!

Looking for parts for a generator for our bus, we drove today to Houston to a diesel engine dealer. My husband had found a deal on an engine he hopes to make into a diesel generator on Ebay, and wanted to come down to test it before buying.

Deep down in the shadow of the Houston skyscrapers, we drove past a homeless man pushing a grocery cart laden with bags down the middle of the street as we wound our way to the man’s business. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a friendly young man in his late 20’s, who eagerly showed us around his large but dirty shop, proudly showing his many diesel engines, parts, and things that most would call junk. Within moments, my guys were embroiled in a technical conversation about various what-nots to be found laying around on the property.

The owner of this business was the most interesting person to talk to. He had been a software engineer until about a year ago, when he decided to combine his dream of starting his own business with his love of mechanics. Being the visionary that he is, he bought this huge empty warehouse, made a section of it into an apartment for him and his young wife, and began dealing in various forms of diesel motors.

Of course, at sometime during the bargaining process, my little boy developed quite a need for the bathroom. Thankfully, the bathroom available was not just a “workers’ bathroom,” if you know what I mean, but it was thankfully in the man’s apartment. I was definitely curious to see if I could talk to his wife for a few minutes.

Though she was 8 months pregnant with their first child and had to extricate herself from the comfy sofa, his wife was happy to let us come into her home. “Oh, come in!” she said. I sheepishly thanked her for letting us come use her facilities, and quickly directed my little ones to the necessary room.

When we went out, I quickly glanced around, taking in the sparseness of the apartment. It was pretty cold, too, and it had a huge ceiling that was letting out gobs of warm air. The kitchen had the bare essentials, and the sofa looked a bit lonely in the living area.

It occurred to me that most women would not put up with such a “crazy” career change, especially if it meant a bit of “biting the bullet. But this young lady was not only flexable about her surroundings, but seemed to enjoy them. She was content with what her man was doing. After talking with her a little, I discovered that she had left all her family in Mexico to come to America. She had a pioneer spirit – willing to take some hardships in order to accomplish a goal. She is content and happy to stand by her man while he steps out to follow his dream. She knows she cannot fit her husband into her mold. She wisely gets behind him as he leads the family into unknown territory.

She is the driving force behind his dreams.

As the wife of a visionary, I can spot another visionary husband from a mile away. I also can easily sense irritation and resentment in his wife. I know what is going on in her mind, since I have been down the same path. I have discovered in my brief time of marriage that my man may have some “strange” ideas, and may not do things the way other men do, but God has made him to be different. God has made the visionaries to me the movers and shakers of the world. And when he lights upon success, the supportive wife can stand smiling beside her husband while others hail his ingenuity. The wife who desires to put her visionary man into another mold may find herself alone before he meets with success.

This dear woman was standing by her visionary husband, even though it meant living in unusual situations.

Stand by your man, young lady, and you will someday be proudly standing by him when he is one of the most successful businessmen in Houston.