Teaching Your Children to Steal

20 02 2017

imagesSome years ago I was meeting with a young married man for various counseling issues. I really cannot remember what they were, but I do remember one thing from that time. He inadvertently mentioned that he enjoyed “breaking and entering.” I said, “You what?” He shared that for years he and his friends would break into garages and sheds and steal small items simply for, “The thrill of it.”   I shared, “You do know that stealing is against the law, not to mention one of the Ten Commandments, right?”   He assured me that he did, but added that no one has been hurt by his actions and that he enjoyed the dare and the challenge. “Further,” he said, “I find nothing wrong with it.” I added, “But I thought you told me you were a Christian.” He assured me he was.images-4

images-3A counseling plan: During his history statement he shared that he and his wife had a young son who was five years old. I had a plan. I looked straight at him and with boldness said, “I recommend you take your five year-old son along with you and the gang the next time you decide to break into a place.” He said, “What?” “Yea,” I continued, “Take your son, he’s small and you can put him through a window and then he can unlock the door for you to enter.” With a wrinkled face he replied, “I thought you said you were a Christian counselor.” “I am,” I told him. “But here’s the thing…start your son out young and train him thoroughly in thievery so he can be just like his dad.” I went on to say, “In commonality the two of you can have some real father/son bonding time breaking into sheds and garages.” I went on to say, “You’ll be so proud when he becomes just like you!”

He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God…   (I Kings 15:3)





Fifteen Really Cheap or Free Dates

13 02 2017

images-6Running out of ideas for inexpensive, but fun date nights? It’s time to celebrate your Valentine, so here are a few ideas, many that my wife and I have enjoyed over the years:

1. Visit an open house or a new model home for creative decorating and renovating ideas.

2. Try a new hiking or biking trail in your area.

3. Rent a Red Box movie or download a free movie.

4. Visit several local thrift stores or a flea market and enjoy some bargain hunting.

5. Go on a coffee, tea or ice-cream date.

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6. Is there indoor ice-skating in your area? If not, try bowling.

7. Take some back country roads you’ve never driven on and see where you end up.  Keep the conversation going while you enjoy the drive.

8. Try a new museum or art gallery. Look for tours you haven’t been on in your locale.

9. Visit your favorite wing night restaurant.

10. Take advantage of free music concerts at local parks.

11. Cook together or create a new dessert.images-7

12. Go on a scenic photo shoot and take some selfies. Then, post them on-line or on Facebook and ask your friends to guess where the pictures were taken.

13. If you’re near your home area, take your spouse to a favorite childhood spot.

14. Watch a really old movie you love or never viewed before.images-4

15. Take a night walk. Be sure to use a reflective vest and carry a flashlight.

Bonus date: Dig out your old photo albums, sit on the couch and laugh!  Send us your ideas.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!





Love Locks

6 02 2017

imagesYou most likely know about the railings of the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge in Paris, France. For years couples have been placing pad locks on this railing and then throwing the key into the River Seine as a romantic ritual of their love. Eventually the city had to intervene. It seems that according to those who know such things that the added weight of thousands of locks affected the integrity of the bridge and needed to be removed.

In June of 2015 forty-five tons of symbols of love were removed from the bridge railings. When I read about this it made me wonder how many of those couples were still enduring, committed, making sacrifices for images-2one another and “locked” together in love. In 1975 I said “I do” to my bride, Mary, while at the same time saying “I don’t” to every other woman. We never put a padlock on the bridge in Paris, but we have remained committed in our love to God and then to each other. I guess when God’s word says that His love endures forever (Ps 106:1), He provided a picture to us that love can, at the least, endure a life-time.





Redemptive Love – Changing a Life

30 01 2017

Redemption. It means to be repurchased, bought back, atoned for, rescued. It is what Jesus, our Redeemer, does. He came to earth to redeem; to change our lives one soul at a time. While salvation is not fully completed on this earth, it does initiate thatvalentine_day_art redemptive process from the inside out. To know God and to know His love is to live within this ongoing process. To not know Him is to live outside this process.

Four couples and four stories of redemption will be vulnerably shared on February 11th, 2017, at Newport Church in Elm, PA. When you and your spouse or as a single participate in this day, you will hear life-changing testimonies of couples who walked through pain-filled experiences with drugs and alcohol addiction, sexual addiction, financial ruin and the premature death of a spouse and child. You will be challenged by their stories and encouraged by their progressions of healing. And, you will have take-a-ways of redemptive ideas to bring into your relationships.

The day is free with a small charge for lunch and an offering will be taken. Please consider coming. I know you will be blessed. Call 717.627.1996 to register today. You can also view the event details at this link:

https://dcfi.org/resorces/seminars/redemptive-love-couples-day/

 

 

 

 

 





10 Reasons Why Marrying Young Is Not So Bad

23 01 2017

In last week’s blog, I mentioned the grand parenting factor of marrying younger. Our culture has shifted and now tends to look down on younger married persons, but does chronological age (youthfulness) automatically mean immaturity? Maturity does not come with age, but rather life experiences that are successfully worked and walked through. Young married persons can face those life experiences together.

My wife and I were married in our very early 20’s. Here are ten reasons that we have come to celebrate that decision.img_1578

 

  1. We carried less baggage into the marriage from multiple partners, breakups and disastrous relationships.
  2. We grew up faster, taking on the many responsibilities of married life early.
  3. We were young and had tons of fun before children entered the picture.
  4. We didn’t have deeply established routines and independent lives so it was easier to develop our culture in becoming one.
  5. It was easier to make personal change and become what would honor and serve our spouse. In other words, compromise and sacrifice were an early part of becoming adults.
  6. We had few extra resources so we learned to budget early and make do.
  7. We went from a small apartment to missionary service (an even smaller apartment) to our first home. The progression and sacrifice were shared and the accomplishments were milestones along the way.
  8. We love our memories of “young love.” But since then, romance has grown and we know each other, having grown older together with over four shared decades…”old love.”
  9. We weren’t partying and being careless, but we were helping one another reach our life goals. We navigated graduate school together.
  10. We are with the one person who has stuck by our side through the most difficult and the most enjoyable years of life. We raised our children together and now fully enjoy our grandchildren.cimg1506

No disappointment here when the scripture says, “May you rejoice in the wife of your youth…” (Proverbs 5:18)





Marriage, Millennials and Grandparenting

16 01 2017

images-4It’s pretty rare to attend a wedding today where the bride and groom are under age 25. More often, it’s a couple who are approaching their mid 30’s. The reasons? There’s college and then there’s college debt. Then a career to help pay that debt and perhaps even graduate school – more debt. The pervasive attitude becomes waiting until all the stars align, i.e., school, jobs, housing, money, etc.

I read a recent study that indicated in cities where millennial’s flock for employment there has been a rise of single-hood. In Washington DC alone, the situation is “extreme” with “81 percent of young people still single.” One young man quipped, “This is the easiest place I’ve ever been to find somebody for the night, and the hardest place to find somebody for a week or a month or a year.”

Do millennial’s want to get married? They do, but there is so much pressure on them to be financially stable they don’t always see it as practical or reasonable. A huge concern then becomes couples that choose to live together rather than marry. Couples who live together are not always thinking about the long-term aspect of building a home together, raising a family and/or integrating into local church life. Putting marriage on a back burner in order to have a career, a new car, a house, a whatever will only delay parenting and delaying parenting can directly influence the number of children families actually give birth to. It will also affect grand-parenting. images-8Grandparents can pass on or become too old to relate in healthy and fun ways with their grandchildren. And when that happens, something very, very important and essential is lost in our culture.images-6





Transformation, A Miraculous Change

9 01 2017

 img_2119My assignment was clear: completely renovate our outdated bathroom during my Christmas vacation. Its décor was left over from the 1990’s. The flooring had yellowed. The walls needed fresh paint. Nails had popped through the drywall and in general it was looking old and tired. It was time to, “Forget the former….” (Isaiah 43:18) The materials were purchased and the work began. The floor would be covered with a new material, the walls would receive a wainscoting and the paint would be an updated color. “See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19) The change was incredible and when finished my wife exclaimed, “It’s a complete transformation!”

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And then I thought about another verse in Isaiah 43 that says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgression, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” The old was gone and the new had come. Transformation is the process that you and I participate with Holy Spirit in everyday of our lives. Transformation is a visible picture of redemptions work in our hearts, working its way outward to effect our speech and even our outward appearance. I pray that transformation is an ongoing, continual process for you in 2017 as the former is forgotten.








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