Start With You

When you’re having trouble communicating…

When you can’t get children to respond appropriately…

When your team isn’t cooperating…

When the marriage is struggling…

Before you address the problem with the other person…

Ask, “What’s wrong with me?”


What in you needs changing?

In what ways are you contributing to the problem?

How could you communicate differently?

Before you address the problems with others…

Look inside yourself…

Obviously, as a child of God, we start with God, allow Him to examine our hearts and shape us into His image, but in my experience, we often we look at the other person first…and think it’s all about them. I think we have a responsibility to humbly consider our own shortcomings. Many times, if we will look at ourself, we’ll either find the problem or we’ll find a better way to address the problem.

Get to know the person in the mirror…

Before you criticize others…

Could this principle change the way you lead?

People Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

It’s a simple principle – but oh so important to remember.

It’s a principle true in leadership and life.

People don’t know what they don’t know

It’s hard to hold an employee accountable for something they never knew.

You can’t expect your spouse to remember things you never told him or her.

It’s hard to be disappointed no one comforted you in your pain if they didn’t know you were hurting.

Your child can’t live up to a standard you never set.

People don’t know what they don’t know

If you want them to know -‘don’t assume they do -‘tell them.

Wisdom from my 99 Year Old Granddaddy

This week I woke one morning to a text from my 20 year old son Nate. It simply said, “I don’t know why, but I think you should go see great grandma and great granddaddy.”

My grandparents live in a nursing home. At 48, it’s amazing that I have 2 grandparents still living. My grandfather is 99 and grandmother is 94. I realize I should go see them more often, but I took Nate’s advice and went the same day.

My grandparents stay in different rooms, even though they are still passionately in love. My grandmother says he talks too much and would keep her up at night :)

When I arrived my grandfather was in the hallway. I stopped, kneeled down and talked with him for a while. Then I pushed him where he was headed, just outside the dining room. He likes to sit and wait until they bring my grandmother to lunch. We sat in front of a big picture window and talked.

My grandfather’s body is still strong. His mind comes and goes but his long-term memory is great. My grandmother’s body is weak, but her mind is excellent.

Our conversation was random most of the time, but I decided to take out my phone and record some of the nuggets of awesomeness from my grandfather.

Here are random thoughts from a 99 year old:

I’m just looking for Pauline (Shortly after I found him wandering the halls. Pauline is my grandmother. They’ve been married over 70 years. I wrote about that HERE.)

I was born in 1912. That was a long time ago now. (When I asked how he was feeling. I suppose that was enough of an answer.)

Time flies so fast (When I talked about his upcoming 100th birthday. I guess that’s true regardless of age.)

I remember fishing in a pond down from our house when I was a boy. (Reminding me to make memories that last.)

I feel a lot older than that (When I asked him if he felt 99)

You turned out to be a handsome man (I guess grandads have to say that.)

What do you think about Pauline? (He asked this several times. I told him I liked her a lot :) )

She’s the prettiest girl I know (Speaking of my grandmother. He’s been saying that all my life)

That window used to be a door I bet. Those are not hard to replace. (As we looked out the window.)

I miss John Reid (Speaking of my father who died a couple years ago)

He never caused me any problems. (Again speaking of my father, who rebelled for many years. Reminding me we mostly remember the good days.)

I don’t think I ever spanked him. Well, maybe once.
(I suspect he forgot a few times :) )

I wish Pauline felt better. (He appears to worry about her.)

Those bugs are hard to get rid of (Random thought while looking out the window. He then proceeded to tell me how he would get rid of them. It involved some sawing, a drill, a hammer and some nails.)

I can’t believe the Lord blessed me with someone like Pauline. (Here’s a man who dearly loves his wife. It was challenging.)

We didn’t use to write like that. (Speaking of me typing into my phone taking notes on what he was saying.)

It must have a good memory (Not sure he was using memory in the same sense I would, but it made sense.)

I need to go find Pauline…
(I told him I’d help him find his sweetheart.)

Grandparents are awesome!

Surely it’s Grandparents Day somewhere…Tell me about your grandparents…or what it’s like being one!

Stained Glass Windows: A Story of God’s Providence from Daniel Doss

My good friend Daniel Doss gets real and vulnerable to share how his popular song “Stained Glass Windows” became a song. (Daniel helped plant Grace Community Church as our first worship pastor.) If you’ve ever struggled to understand the hand of God, watch this:

To download the song, click HERE.

Thank you Daniel!

Guest Post: 11 Year-Old Mallory Fundora

Here’s a guest post from 11 year-old Mallory Fundora. Mallory and her family are active members of Grace Community Church. I love her vision and passion. She reminds me of Isaiah 11:6 “and a little child will lead them”. Be inspired…

Here are the words of Mallory Fundora:

In October 2011 I sat down to write my Christmas list for my parents, I looked around my room and I realized there was nothing I needed, nothing I wanted. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about the children in Africa, and how they weren’t going to get Christmas presents, and there was a lot of things that they needed. So, I sent my mom an email with my Christmas list, one thing on it, to help Africa.

See, in August of 2010 the Ugandan Orphan Children’s Choir came to my church to perform, and I got to meet the children, and they were amazing. They were so loving, and just wanted to hug me and hold my hand. My mom had also started doing work for a couple of organizations that helped in Uganda, so she had taught me about the children there.

The day after I sent the email my Mom and I sat down and talked about what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to help. I contacted Amazima Ministries and Project Have Hope and I told them what I wanted to do, and I asked them how I could best help them. That is how Project Yesu was born. My goals at first were simple, I wanted to raise $600 to sponsor 2 children, one from Amazima and one from Project Have Hope. When you sponsor a child, it pays for food, medicine and sends them to school. I also decided I wanted to send Christmas cards to the children in Uganda, I mean who doesn’t like to get a card, it makes you smile. So I drew two different card designs and I contacted a local printing company and asked them if they would donate the printing of 650 cards, they did.

So I started to tell people about Project Yesu, and my mom helped me start a blog so people could read about it. I met with my Children’s pastor and asked if our youth group could help me with the cards, because I wanted them to be personal, so I needed a lot of help to write out 650 cards. I also spoke to my youth group, and told them about Project Yesu and about the children in Uganda and asked them to help me raise money. Every week I set up a booth at my church to tell people about my project, and the word spread.

In only 8 weeks I raised over $2,400 and I was able to sponsor 7 children. It was way more then I had originally planned on and it was great. I got to meet some wonderful people, and tell them my story. I was invited to go to WAYFM a Christian radio station because they learned about my project, and I was even on TV. The NBC station out of Nasvhille did a story on Project Yesu.

I read a quote one day from Mahatma Ghandi that said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. That’s what I want to do, I want to be the change, I want to make a difference, I want to help people. Everyone thinks kids are selfish or that we’re just kids and we can’t do anything like this. I want to show people what a difference one person can make. If someone, because they heard about me, or met me, decides that they can be a change too, then it will spread from me, to that person, to another person and so on. Kids have good ideas, and you know what? We don’t know all the reasons why it won’t work, we just know we what we want to do.

I know with Project Yesu, I am making a difference, not only in the lives of the seven children in Uganda who now have food, medicine and can go to school. But I am making a difference in the lives of my family, my friends, my teachers and even people I have never met before.

I want Project Yesu to continue to spread and grow, and to do that I need people like you, who are reading this post to spread the word and to help me. My goals for 2012 is to raise $4,500 – who knows maybe I’ll double that this year or even triple that and be able to help more and more children in Uganda. I plan to travel to Uganda in December of 2012 to hand deliver the Christmas cards to the children, to meet my sponsored children and to love on the children of Uganda who have changed my life.

If you want to know more about Project Yesu, or how you can help you can find me on Facebook – or go to my site

I am selling T-shirts and wristbands to raise funds, and I am also looking for families, groups, classrooms or anyone to be a part of the “Be The Change” campaign by collecting coins to donate towards Project Yesu.

So I have accepted the challenge to be the change…. Will you?

10 Tips for Parents on Healthy Discipline

family lifestyle portrait

As a pastor, I’m consistently asked about disciplining children. I posted on this previously, but decided to revise it some and post again.

There is always special interest in the subject of spanking; whether it was appropriate or not and whether I believe in it or not. While I believe discipline is a personal topic for parents to decide where they land, I do believe there are some principles that are helpful for all parents to follow. I am probably less inclined in this area to talk about what I did and more inclined to talk about the principles I believe are even more helpful.

I have written my basic overall plan for parenting in an earlier post. You can read it HERE. Since I believe the most important thing is that you have a plan for your parenting and where you are taking your children, here are 10 principles I believe can help the discipline part of your plan.

Here are 10 tips for parents on healthy discipline:

Goal set first. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.”  You should understand the reason behind discipline.  You are taking your children somewhere they need to go.

Never discipline in anger. You will say things you do not mean and do things you should not do. Discipline done is anger is rarely productive and usually harmful long-term.

At the time of need for discipline, remember this 3-step process: Stop/Think/Proceed.  The older your child gets the longer you can and may need to take with each step.

Be consistent in your discipline plan. It will mean nothing to the child otherwise.

Pre-think principles, but do not try to pre-plan specifics. You should have some   value-centered, character-based goals you want discipline to promote in your child.  You should avoid declaring what you will do when your child does something specific.  Don’t ever say, for example, my child will never wear his hair long.  You may regret those words someday.

Differentiate discipline for each child. To spank or not to spank should not be as big a deal as what works best for the child. (For more on this see THIS POST.)

Do not make threats with which you are unwilling to follow through. Your children will catch on to that real quick.

Use age appropriate and action appropriate discipline. As a child matures the discipline should mature with them. At the same time, do not overkill a minor incident or ignore a major occurrence.

Always discipline the child for results. Discipline in its concept is not necessarily pleasant, but it reaps a reward if done right.  Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Discipline should never teach a child he or she is unloved. Actually, if done right, it should reinforce the love a parent has for the child. (Hebrews 12:7-10)

If you have something to add about discipline or any specific questions, feel free to comment.

7 Spending Encouragements to Make Life Better

Spend more time looking towards your future than at your past.

Spend more energy on what you can change rather than what you cannot.

Spend more time reading a book than watching television.

Spend more time extending grace than holding a grudge.

Spend more time listening than talking.

Spend more time dreaming than dreading.

Spend more energy with people you love rather than things you can buy.

Do you have more?

A Christmas Newsletter from the Edmondson Family 2011

Merry Christmas!

It has been a great year for the Edmondson’s.

We spent our first full year in our downtown condo. We love it. When weather and schedules cooperate, we walk downtown at night and through the campus of Austin Peay State University (our Alma mater and the fastest growing university in our state). We even dine on campus some nights. You can’t beat $14 for all you can eat for two of us! :) We love sitting on our front porch, which overlooks the river walk. At Christmas time, we can see the lights and hear the music. It’s been a great change of pace for these new empty-nesters.

Did I mention I haven’t mowed a lawn in over a year?

Jeremy and Mary had a beach wedding in May. It was a beautiful day surrounded by close friends and immediate family. It was the most special wedding I’ve ever performed. The happy couple…they really are very happy together…live in downtown Nashville, where they, too, overlook the river, as well as Titans stadium. Jeremy has proven to be a hard worker and is doing well in his new career in marketing and social media. Jeremy and Mary love Pete Wilson‘s Cross Point Church in Nashville and are active in their community group.

Nate has a year left at Moody Bible Institute. He will graduate a semester early next December and then plans to attend seminary. We are exploring those options now. Nate spent the summer studying with Moody in Europe. He experienced Germany, Italy and Switzerland and made memories that will last a lifetime. He is blessed to work with Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens at Soul City Church in Chicago, where they have given him multiple opportunities to serve. Nate did the music and production for a Christmas album this year. It’s free. I wrote about it HERE.

It’s a blessing to know your children continue to love the body of Christ and remain active in church when they leave home. I’m thankful for those who are investing in them.

Cheryl and I remain extremely busy in ministry and life. We joke that we truly live an “abundant” life. We aren’t still long, but God is giving us incredible opportunities for Kingdom-influence during this season. This year our ministry opportunities have grown within Grace and beyond. We do not want to waste a minute of what God wants to do with our life!

This Christmas, I realize I’m blessed far beyond what I deserve. I’m happily married to my best friend, we have children who honor Christ with their life, and we have enough material things that we have plenty to share with others. This has been a good year.

There have been years it was harder to write those words, but I’m just old enough to know, whether good seasons or bad, God is in control, He has a plan, and all things truly do work for an ultimate good.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Your Right to Cry…My Right to Be Angry

Sometimes I get angry…or to Cheryl it looks like anger.

Your right to cry is my right to be angry!

It’s usually not a major issue, it could be a car that pulls out in front of me or a reaction to a ballgame. Sometimes it’s even disappointment in myself, but at times I have to remind Cheryl that I have a right to be angry…or at least to express the emotion I feel, which to her looks like anger. (It’s usually not what I would even term anger…maybe frustration…but my definition and hers might differ.) I have as much right to feel my emotions of anger, as Cheryl has a right to cry.

Let me be clear. I have rarely been angry at her. Thankfully that has only happened a couple times in our marriage, but as a man, I have as much a right to be angry as Cheryl has a right, as a woman, to cry. I don’t usually express emotion in tears. Instead, the same emotions that Cheryl feels when she sheds tears are often expressed by me in what appears to her to be anger. Anger in its simplest form is an emotional release as a reaction to a situation; much like crying. (As some women have pointed out to me before, this can be personality driven, so the roles can be reversed in a relationship also.)

Please don’t misunderstand. My right to express anger is never an excuse to throw things, hit someone, or even be verbally abusive. I never have that right. You don’t either. None of us should allow our emotions to turn into times of violence. There is never an excuse for that. Learning to control our emotions is a key to establishing healthy relationships. (If your emotions are uncontrollable then I encourage you to seek help. Addressing serious emotional problems for the male or female is not the purpose of this post.)

In Ephesians chapter four, it is clear that we should not sin in anger. We are also told not to go to bed in anger, and, thankfully, Cheryl and I have a commitment not to do that in our marriage. Further, in the same passage, we are told to get rid of anger. The passage, however, clearly allows a place for anger in our lives.

The dilemma between couples is not to limit a person from feeling, or even expressing, emotions. Bottled up emotions are dangerous. The real issue is to better understand the differences in our makings and learn to adapt who we are in a mutually submissive response to each other. In my relationship with Cheryl, as an example, when I get angry at something when I’m with her, which is again often my natural response to things that upset me, I must control that anger to keep it from becoming harmful to our relationship. I still reserve the right to feel and express the emotions, just as Cheryl has the right to cry when she is upset while in my company. The goal in any relationship is to create a healthy environment where both parties are free to be emotionally open with each other, while maintaining the strength and integrity of the relationship.

In order to accomplish that, I have to guard against my emotional expressions causing a wedge between us. Most women don’t like to see anger displayed. When a man gets angry, even with controlled anger, the woman may feel threatened, intimidated and uneasy. That’s a natural reaction to a misunderstood emotion. Two things need to happen, therefore. First, Cheryl has to understand when I’m angry, it’s an emotional release, that may or may not be aimed at her, but is normal for my wiring. Second, I need to limit my emotional release to the point where her understanding can process my emotions. When I cause her to shut down in fear, for example, because of what she views as anger, then I’ve crossed the line in what is an appropriate emotional release.

What needs to be equally understood is that the same thing often happens to a man in reaction to a woman’s tears. When Cheryl, or any woman, begins to cry I immediately shut-down, become defensive; perhaps even a little afraid. I don’t know how to respond adequately to a woman in tears, just as most women don’t know how to respond to a man in his displayed anger.

This is a paradox that exists in the male/female relationship because we are so different. It is part of the mystery that in the end causes attraction between the two sexes. This post is also not an excuse for a person’s refusal to mature in areas such as growing in patience or offering forgiveness. As we mature, our emotional highs and lows should flare less about things that matter less. (Explaining all that would need another post.)

The next time your man gets angry at something, give him time to unwind, help him process through it if he wants you to, but let him be a man. Guys, let your wives cry without trying to fix the thing she is crying about! Then, both the man and the woman should use the experience to learn from each other and have a stronger, more emotionally open and healthy relationship.

I’m fully confident this post will cause some anger to raise among my women readers. That’s okay. I can handle anger. Just please, don’t cry! :)

You may now want to read:

5 Tips in Communicating with Men

5 Tips in Communicating with Women

(Also, read the comments to this post. I’ve expanded some thoughts there.)