Fishing with your boys

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My daughter graduates from high school on Saturday.

I’m amazed at how the time has flown by.  It seems like only yesterday that she was headed off to kindergarten- and now she’s just finished her final day of her senior year.

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And I’m proud of her.

She’s made great grades.  She’s made great decisions. She’s become a bright, mature young woman.

But she’s leaving our home.  And I have regrets.

I wish I’d spent more time with her.

Yes- we have traveled a lot.  There have been countless road trips for AAU basketball and club soccer tournaments.

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We’ve hiked the Rockies and the Smokies.  We’ve traveled to the east and west coasts.

But I wish we’d done more.  I wish we’d talked more.

It’s not too late.  Hollianne and I will find new ways to invest in her.  We’ll pour love, attention and prayer into her during college.  It’ll be different- but it’s critically important.

But now for those boys.

We’re left with two sons in our home.  In a flash, they’ll be finishing up middle and high school and headed out into the world as young adults.

I was reading a book this morning and it told of a parenting seminar where Dr. James Dobson was speaking.  The writer said that Dr. Dobson finished his speech with the following quote:

“God only gives us so many times to go fishing with our kids…so don’t miss a one of them.”

Wise words.

I need to be intentional about pouring attention into my boys.  The need love, attention and investment.  They need my time.

And I’ve got to do better.  There are things that they need to hear from me.  There are things that they need to see in me.  I’ve got to step up and stand in the gap.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6: 5-7

Maybe you are in a similar situation.  Perhaps you have children at home…or grown children…and need to invest more time into that relationship.  Perhaps it’s a parent or a sibling- and you are looking for ways to spend more time with them.

My prayer is week is two-fold.  I will pray that Hollianne and I are creative with the ways to invest in Carson as she goes off to college.  And I pray that we are intentional about the ways we invest in our sons.  I don’t want to miss an opportunity to go fishing.

Let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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Separation Anxiety

2017 brought a new job to the Carver household.  And it’s ushered in lots of change too.

My schedule is a bit hectic, as there are many new places to visit with many new people to meet.

It’s been exciting, but it has me traveling away from the family quite a bit. It’s required an adjustment, as Hollianne is trying  to juggle a full schedule with three active kids. 

We are all doing our part to make the best of the transition.

Well….one of us is struggling more than the rest.  Our youngest, Britton, is the most resistant to change.  It’s been hard on him.

One night he told me that his biggest fear is that our relationship would change…that he and I wouldn’t be as close as we are right now. 

His statement hit me right in the heart.  My little guy was worried about our relationship- and that less time together might change the way I feel about him.

But I assured him that a new job- or my limited time at home during the daytime- wouldn’t impact my love for him.  In fact, I pledged to work harder to make sure that we made the most of our time together. 

He’s experiencing what we’ve all felt at some point in our lives.  We have thoughts that some life event can put distance between us and someone we love.  Maybe it’s not time or distance- but hardship or a broken relationship. 

This world is filled with hurt and doubt, but there’s hope for the believer. 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

What a promise that is! 

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing.  There’s an unconditional love that is present regardless of our sinful actions and ways.  We are imperfect- and God loves us anyway.

Earthly relationships change. Eternal ones don’t.  We can rest assured that God will never leave us. 

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. I John 4:16

Please pray for me to be the best husband and father that I can possibly be this year. And let me know how I can pray for you.

God bless.

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Running away from your Bible

I’m a runner.

Well, ok…I like to think I’m a runner.  I’ve completed four marathons and a dozen or so half marathons.  But- my pace is slow, I’ve never won a race and my running form looks painful to the casual observer.

But still…I’m a runner.

I like the peace that comes from a clear head while running.  I love being outdoors and taking in nature.  I love the quietness of the minutes before daybreak.  I just love running.

There are many parallels between running and reading the Bible.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

  1.  You don’t have to be very good at it to benefit from it.  Running is simple.  You just put one foot out in front of the other.  Walking becomes jogging- which becomes running.  After several months of training, the act of running becomes effortless.  The same is true with your Bible.  It’s God’s inspired word. You don’t need training to get started.  You just need to commit to reading, studying and praying over it.  A little bit of study leads you to want more.
  2. You don’t need a special place to do it.  In the past seven days alone, I’ve completed a three-mile run in a hotel parking lot, a four miler on a mountain trail and another run on an indoor treadmill.  Running is portable…you can do it anywhere.  It’s the same with Bible study.  You can study in the quiet of the morning or late at night.  You can listen to the Bible in your car between meetings.  You can download it on your phone and read it on your lunch hour.  It’s completely portable.
  3. The equipment is minimal.  In running, you just need a good pair of shoes to get started.  It’s the same with Bible study.  You don’t need anything but God’s word and a good notebook for observations and questions.  Just get going.
  4. It’s always better when you are training for something.  It’s true in running…if I have a race or an outdoor event to train for- I’m more motivated.  I have a goal.  The same holds true with Bible study.  If I’m teaching a class or participating in a study where I’m expected to be prepared- I work harder.  It’s good to have goals for your personal Bible study.
  5. You can enjoy it alone or with a group.  I love to run alone to clear my head, think about solutions to problems or to get in an uninterrupted prayer.  I also enjoy running with my family.  I’m blessed that we all get to race together- and enjoy training together.  When studying God’s word, it’s good to be alone sometimes to go at your own pace or study what’s truly interesting to you.  It’s also nice to have a group to discuss topics from the Bible…and to hold you accountable for study.

 

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Running legend Steve Prefontaine once said, “a race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways as they’re capable of understanding.”

It’s the same as studying the Bible.  It’s a work of art.  If  you commit to it, God’s word will pour into you and make you a new creature…transformed. It will affect and change every aspect of your life.

My prayer this week is to be even more diligent in my study of God’s word.

Let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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Level playing fields

Our boys are experiencing a special season- and they know it. 

JT is an eighth grade kicker, punter and safety for his middle school team.  Our 5th grader, Britton, is an offensive guard and defensive tackle for the same team. 

Britton normally wouldn’t be playing with JT’s team. After all, he’s still in elementary school. 

But his 5th grade team didn’t have enough players- so the middle school coach invited Britton to “play up” and practice with the older team. 

While Britton hasn’t played much, he’s learned a lot from the older players and the coaches. He’s gotten stronger, learned much more about the game and become more disciplined in his preparation.  

And it’s brought our boys closer. 

They talk about the games at the dinner table. In the car, they share jokes about things that happen at practices. 

Despite their age and skill differences- JT and Britton are sharing a common experience. 

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”  Mark 16:15

Isn’t that how the Bible draws it up?  

No matter our background…no matter our experience…no matter our status- the love of Jesus and the promise for salvation is for everyone. We have a shared experience. 

There’s no preferential treatment. Everyone is free to accept the same level of love, comfort and redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

We are all united through Jesus. Teammates. And we should teach, support and pray for one another during our time together on earth. 

Please let me know how I might pray for you this week. It would be my honor as your teammate. 

God bless. 

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Go ahead….make my day 

I’m gonna have to brag a little.

Our daughter, Carson, is a senior this year.  Her high school announced the Senior Superlatives earlier tonight.

You remember the Senior Superlatives, right?  The infamous peer awards voted on by the senior class.  Most handsome and beautiful.  Best dressed.  Best athlete.

(I dreaded the Senior Superlatives when I was in high school.  I would have never been voted handsome, best dressed or the best athlete.)

Carson brought one home that made my heart smile.  Our baby girl was awarded “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day.”

Wow.  Most likely to brighten your day.  What an honor!

I shouldn’t be surprised.  Carson has a genuine care for others.  She has an infectious laugh, a big smile and loves the underdog.  She just has a presence that picks up your spirit.  Carson has an innate ability to sense when something is wrong- and try to do something about it.

But isn’t that what we should all strive to do?

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11

We are called to encourage and edify others.  But it doesn’t stop there.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

If we are to bear one another’s burdens, we need to do more.  It’s more than an affirming smile.  It requires an investment in people.  We need to increase our awareness of the needs of others and make a point to engage in their lives.

We need to engage with others in meaningful ways.  It takes effort.

You can learn a lot from your kids.

Please pray for me to be more aware of how I can help lighten the load of others.  And please let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

 

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Everyday is a birthday

Last week I had the honor of celebrating a special birthday.  A close friend of mine became a “first time” dad…and I had the opportunity to visit his daughter soon after her arrival home.

Hollianne and I offered to deliver dinner.  Selfishly, the offer to provide food was just a means to an end…as we wanted to see their new baby!

She is perfect.  Big, beautiful eyes, smooth skin and delicate features.  Just perfect.

She’s a blessing, but she is blessed too.  She’s got an incredible mother and father that will provide for her physically, emotionally and spiritually.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

We have that same blessing.  We have a Father who designed us, loves us and wants what’s best for us.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I’m officially closer to 50 than I am 40.  And when I look in the mirror, I don’t see smooth skin and any delicate features…but plenty of lines and battle scars.

But I have that same promise of a heavenly Father who cares for me.  And you do too.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

We all have the opportunity for renewal each and every day.  Thank God.

Let me know how I can pray for you this week.

God bless.

 

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Decisions


Our youngest child, Britton, struggles with making decisions.

It’s not surprising, as B is the youngest of three kids in the Carver house.  His older sister and brother have been making decisions for B his entire life.  It’s like he’s got two dads and two moms.  Advice abounds for the little guy.

Truth be told, I struggle with decisions too.

I often know what needs to be done in my life, but I resist.  I make choices out of selfish desires, wants and convenience.

Fortunately, Jesus never flinched when faced with the biggest decision in history.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus knew why he was sent to this earth.

Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:28

How often do we think about the magnitude of that decision?  Jesus died so that we might live.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

My prayer this next week is to intentionally reflect the power of this one, unselfish decision- and to seek the counsel of Jesus for all the choices of my life.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  James 1:5

Please let me know how I may pray for you.

(Kentucky Lake sunrise; March 16, 2016.  Big Sandy, TN)

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