Life Encouragement to My Sons


Here’s a quick message to my two boys.  Jeremy and Nate are 21 and 18 years old. (This picture is a few years old, but it’s one of my favorites.)  Jeremy just graduated from college last week. Nate finishes his first year of college next week. They are tremendous young men, but I realize they have some incredible opportunities ahead and I don’t want them to miss anything God has for them, especially not because they were unprepared.  I wish someone had given me this advice when I was their age. (Perhaps you need to hear it as well.)

Boys:

I’ve messed up many times in life…

Please learn from my mistakes…

I’m not perfect now, but at least I’m headed in the right direction…

I wish I had started this path earlier in life…

Don’t wait to build your character, discover your life purpose, and chase your dreams…

Head your life early in the direction you want your life to eventually end…

Start today…

Do you need that encouragement today?

I’m curious: At what age did you start heading your life in the direction you ultimately want to go?

Read a letter I wrote to each of my boys HERE and HERE.

Guest Post: Nate Edmondson on Trusting God

My youngest son Nate is in Chicago and we are bringing him home once again this weekend for a funeral.  This time for the funeral of my father. I thought his thoughts were worth sharing today:

I have a paper due tomorrow morning at 8, so I should probably be working on that… but there’s not too many things I dislike more than writing those.

This year has by far been the most difficult year of my life. I’ve had to go home 3 times for 3 different funerals, one of which for a very close friend. Mixing all of those emotions with the emotions of being homesick in general has been interesting. At the beginning of my first semester I sensed God trying to teach me to trust in Him with every aspect of my life, and unfortunately I’ve continued trusting myself instead of Him.

I think learning to trust God completely is the most important thing that any Christian could do. Imagine what would happen if every believer truly started living by faith in every arena of life.

It’s hard. I really suck at it. Instead of spending time with Him I sit on facebook and write blog posts..

Trust God. What does that mean exactly… I don’t know. But I know God’s real and has a real plan. The goal if figuring out how to stop holding on to my life and surrender it to God, but again, I don’t really know what that means or looks like.

It’s amazing how unstructured this post is…

Can you identify with Nate? 

Is trusting God completely a process for you as well?

What is the number one distraction in your life from fully trusting the God who loves you more than you could ever imagine?

I’m Getting a Daughter: Welcome to the Family, Mary


Have you heard the news? Cheryl and I are gaining a daughter! Our oldest son Jeremy asked Mary to be his wife last week. (In a very romantic way that would make most of us men hate him. He set the standard high.) They will marry sometime next year and we couldn’t be more excited.

If we were selecting a daughter or a daughter-in-law, we would have chosen someone just like Mary. She has a natural mothering heart wired to care for others. Mary is beautiful, smart, kind, and compassionate. She loves children, puppies, and people. Mary is patient with others, including Jeremy, Nate and me when we tease her. (Which is one reason I always wanted a daughter!) Mary is respectful to Cheryl and me, and has become a great friend to Cheryl. Best of all, Mary loves Jesus with all her heart. She truly is a remarkable young woman.

Jeremy and Mary have dated six years, and we have known her family for many years, so we’ve watched her grow into the fine young lady she is today. Mary completes Jeremy perfectly. We often comment that Jeremy is a better person when Mary is around; and he seems to enjoy life better. Their equal heart for missions and ministry welcomes God to use them throughout their marriage.

Mary, you should know that Cheryl and I are going to compete for the in-laws of the year award…every year! We enjoy our time with our children, but we want to encourage you two as you plan your life together, without getting in your way. We are always here if you need us, and just as we’ve told our boys (and you), you are never an interruption to our days. We are always here for you!

Welcome to the family Mary! You are dearly and completely loved!

Good choice Jeremy! You make us proud!

What Are Your Expectations Of A Pastor/Minister’s Family Life?

All eyes are always on the minister’s family and having been on both sides, as a full-time vocational minister and years as someone with a full-time secular job, let me assure you that most pastors feel the pressure to live up to the standards of excellence people have set. I’m thankful I have a great marriage (most days) and two great boys. I’m fine with you making decisions about me based on my family life, because right now, thankfully, things are going well, but still, I also sense the pressure to live up to a set of unrealistic expectations at times.

The false expectation may often feel like I’m not supposed to have disagreements with my wife, my kids are never to be the ones that misbehave at times, or when you see Cheryl and me in public we should always be holding hands as we pray together.

I know what the Scripture says: He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) (1 Timothy 3:4-5)

Does that, however, mean the minister must have a perfect marriage and perfect children?

Is the standard you have set for the minister’s family higher than the one you have set for your family?

I’m curious, what expectations do you have of a pastor’s family?

7 Reasons I Choose My Kindle Over an iPad

I am not a techie, but I am Mac guy, so I was mesmerized, like many of my techie friends, with Apple’s new iPad.  This week when Steve Jobs introduced it, I felt an instant urge to hold one.  Did anyone else get that urge?  (Please don’t give me an idolatry lecture…I know my priorities…I’m not obsessing, but I am fascinated.)  Being one that is always looking for ways to improve my productivity, I can see how I would make use of such a product.

The most frequent question for me this week, however, has been what would I do with my Kindle if I got an iPad.  If you don’t know, my boys got me a Kindle for Father’s Day and I love it.  I wrote about it HERE. Granted I haven’t held an iPad in my hands, but I have pondered my “dilemma” this week, and I have come to the following conclusion:

I can think of 7 reasons I will keep my Kindle.  Here’s why:

  1. The Kindle feels more like a book than I think the iPad will.  Putting the Kindle in a leather binder gives me the look and feel of holding the “real thing”.
  2. The screen on the Kindle seems more like a book. If the screen on the iPad is like my MacBook Pro, I wouldn’t want to read long passages on it.
  3. The Kindle is limited to being a reader.  This has been seem as a plus for the iPad, but when I’m considering it as a reader it’s a criticism for me.  When I’m doing serious reading, I don’t want to be distracted with other things I can do with the device.
  4. Amazon is so easy to work with.  I’m confident that Apple will pull off a great database of books, but Amazon certainly knows what they are doing.  (I wonder if the two great companies will find a way to partner.)
  5. The battery life on the Kindle is amazing.  I don’t get that kind of result from my iPhone or MacBook.   (As a matter of fact, my Mac power is running low now…)
  6. My boys gave me my Kindle.  ‘Nuff said…
  7. Sometimes simplicity is a good thing….Complex is often overrated.

There are my top 7 reasons for keeping my Kindle and not being disappointed if I don’t immediately get an iPad when they are released.  Still, if my boys are tired of socks and underwear again this year…

What about you?  Do you want an iPad?  Will you get one?  Do you own a Kindle? Will the iPad cause you to put aside your Kindle?

Start the discussion here.

Describe Your Relationship With Your Father


I’m curious.  What type of relationship did you or do you have with your earthly father? I have asked this question dozens of times to different groups of men and women with surprising results.

I am soliciting feedback. Consider these questions:

  • If you were seeking wisdom, would your father be the first person you would think to ask?
  • Has your relationship improved with your father, as you have grown older?
  • Does your perception of an earthly father, based on the relationship you had with your own father, strengthen or hinder your view of your Heavenly Father?
  • Is it your goal to parent better or do you hope to just be as good a parent as your father parented you?

Would you do me a favor and comment here on this blog telling me a little about the relationship you had or didn’t have with your father? You can answer in a few words, a sentence, or in paragraphs, but I’d love your feedback on this one. (In fairness, I went first. I talked some about my dad HERE.)

I will blog more about this topic in days to come, but I would love to hear some stories first.

Just A Bragging Dad…Please Bear With Me

I debated posting this and then I asked for feedback and was overwhelmingly encouraged that this was a legitimate post. This morning Cheryl was the first to tell me that our youngest son , now a student at Moody Bible College in Chicago, had written a new blog post…and the subject was me. (The picture with this post is of him speaking recently at our student service.) She gave me time to read it and then came with heavy tears to get my reaction. She said, “This is what you’ve been living for…”

She was referring to a comment I have made many times as a father. I have stated that the pinnacle of success for me would be to one day receive one of those sappy, mushy plaques that talks about what a great dad I am…from children that really mean the words. I guess in this modern age of social media, today I received my first plaque.

Here’s an excerpt of Nate’s post:

Through my time the past month in God’s word I’ve come to have a much deeper appreciation for my dad. So many things I’m learning about God and His heart I remember watching my dad either experience or try to teach me, and I can’t explain how much that strengthens my faith. As I continue internalizing faith for myself I become so much more thankful for a dad who was willing to be open about his faith with his kids. (And just for the record, my dad doesn’t know I’m writing this. This week I’ve just been so overwhelmed by encountering Biblical truth I’ve seen modeled in him that I feel burdened to share.)

I want to list just a few things I can remember my dad doing with me that I think ultimately helped shape my faith. I don’t really know what readership I have here at Moons From Burma, or if I have any at all, but if you’re a parent or want to be a parent someday and desire that your kids love Jesus more than anything else, I think you should apply some of these to your parenting.

To read the remainder of his post and his points, click HERE.

For the record, I have two awesome sons, both that are respectful of me and genuine friends, but one blogs and the other one doesn’t (yet). The older did send me a very appreciative email recently that I may share (with his permission) in a future post. I love my boys.

Just curious. Is it okay for me to brag on my boys, as long as I realize without God in my life and theirs, we would be nothing?

An Important Life and Leadership Principle

Here is a life and leadership principle I have learned the hard way:

Don’t try to handle a problem or make important decisions when you are angry or highly emotional.

You will say things you don’t really mean to say, hurt feelings you don’t intend to hurt, and come to conclusions you will later wish you hadn’t reached. This is especially true of handling corrective issues or addressing something in which you do not agree.

Whether it is in the workplace, family or in friendships, if you can’t think rationally, wait until your emotions calm before you act.

Have you been guilty of acting in anger?  How did that turn out for you?

The Pain of the Childless

But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years. Luke 1:7 NIV

How would you like to be known as “barren Elizabeth”? It was considered almost a curse in Bible days to not have children. It was assumed there was something in a person’s life in which God was not pleased. Zechariah and Elizabeth were good, Godly people, yet they had no children and they were past the normal age of childbirth.

In our ministry, Cheryl and I have many opportunities to hold babies. It is always, however, somewhat bittersweet. As wonderful as it is to rejoice with one couple, someone is always in mourning, because either they recently lost a child, or they have been unable to have one. We have learned it is a miserable pain.

I can’t pretend that I know how that feels, because I don’t, but having a minister’s heart, I can tell you that I do understand that it is a very real heartache to be childless and want a child. Holidays and the celebrations of birth of other children only remind the childless that a part of their heart is empty. When thousands of children starve to death around the world, it seems a tragedy that many couples have a remaining prayer request to be granted a child.

I suspect Zechariah and Elizabeth could identify with such couples. Their broken hearts were a reminder to them of their desire to be parents. Some of you reading this can understand the pain of those who remain childless, and desire to parent. Remember them this Christmas season. Share God’s love with them. Pray for them. Be sensitive around them. Be Jesus to them.

Have you personally known this pain? Do you know other who have?

Continuing Thanksgiving Family Traditions

An annual tradition my family has observed since my boys were old enough to write has been setting aside some time Thanksgiving weekend to share the “Top 10” things we were thankful for that year.  I must confess that this past year, while I did compile my list (I posted it HERE on this blog), we never found time to sit together and share them.

Nate, our resident funny guy, now a freshmen at Moody Bible College in Chicago, will be home for Thanksgiving.  This morning the three of us at home received this email: (Please remember he is 18 years old and has a very colorful personality.  Don’t be offended by his attempt at humor.) Personally, I thought it was hilarious.

Dear family,

If you are receiving this email it is because you are, willingly or unwillingly, (although, to be precise, Ron and Cheryl were willing, and Jeremy and I were unwilling in the sense that we had nothing to do with the formation of our family) part of the Edmondson family Thankful tradition. As you know, due to Ron’s poor leadership and apathetic family world view, we failed to fulfill our annual commitment to be thankful last year. Because of the broken covenant, and my lack of confidence in Ron to regain control of the reins in our family derby called the Thankful tradition, I am taking it upon myself to lead our family back to morality, and most importantly, spirituality (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

In order to make up for our departure from the Edmondsonic Covenant, I am requiring us all have 20 Thankful’s this year. You may deem this too demanding, but I assure you, that is only because of how soft Ron has become. (Sometimes I’m forced to ponder his sexuality as well.)

You have a week to complete your list. I know you will be blessed as you find joy in being thankful.

I loathe having to force my command on this issue, but all authority is from God. Therefore, I urge you to follow through with my request. For it is written, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

God bless you as you embark on the thankful journey lain out before you in this the 2010th year of our Lord.

Love,

Nate

Isn’t it fun to watch your children take on the traditions you started with them?

For more posts on Family, click HERE.