20 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife this Weekend

Rear View Senior Man and Woman Couple Walking Holding Hands

Give her the best time of your weekend.

Do something with her you know she enjoys, even if it’s not your favorite thing to do.

Share a dessert with her. (Ouch! This one hurts me personally. I don’t usually share desserts.)

Take a long walk together and hold her hand.

Fix the bed, take out the trash, or pick up your clothes…without being asked. (Or whatever it is that you know she would love if you did.)

Genuinely listen to her without trying to fix anything.

Give her a few hours with no responsibility…none. (Even the kids.)

Brag on her to your friends.

Hand wash her car.

Tell her your deepest fears and greatest dreams.

Leave her notes around the house.

Write down 10 reasons she’s the woman of your dreams.

Leave a sweet voicemail on her phone telling how much you love her.

Cook dinner. And then do the dishes.

Book a date night for later this week. Take care of ALL the arrangements.

Pray for her out loud.

Ask her advice.

Say, “I love you”. Unsolicited.

Make her belly laugh.

Dream with her about your future together.

Any ideas you would share?

7 Ways a Leader Has a Better Weekend

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If you are like me you love your weekends. T.G.I.F…right? If we are not careful, however, the weekend passes so quickly and we begin another work week feeling we wasted the weekend we had. Or we are so stressed by the week behind or the week ahead that all we do is catch our breath and we can’t fully enjoy the weekend.

How can we help guarantee better weekends? Every weekend. I have learned the more intentional Cheryl and I are about planning for it, the better weekends we had as a family when our boys are home and now as empty-nesters.

Here are 7 suggestions I try to live:

Plan on Monday – Set your week up for success. Plan what you can realistically do in a week and end the week with a sense of accomplishment.

Do hard things now – Handle the hard stuff as they arise. Try not to carry it into the weekend. Obviously that’s not always possible, but many times it is. for example, don’t put off that difficult conversation you know you have to have until Monday if you can and should do it today. It will haunt you all weekend. Whatever the issue, bite the bullet and handle the tough issue, as soon as effectively possible.

Be honest with your schedule – Don’t feel bad about declining activities on the weekend. If you want to go then go, but if you’d rather relax then do that. No guilt. Say yes sparingly when accepting weekend appointments. They sometimes sound good on Monday but are less exciting on Saturday morning.

Attend church – That’s an appointment you should keep. I know it seems self-serving to suggest it, and I’m not being legalistic. That’s not my nature or theology. I’ve just hardly ever heard someone say they wish they’d skipped church. But I’ve heard many who believe it gave them a better weekend. God always seems to bless the time I give Him.

Plan ahead for a true Sabbath – Even though it makes for slightly longer weekdays, try to accomplish many of the “chores” you have to do before the weekend. Try to have some unplanned time simply to do what you enjoy.

Keep a fairly normal sleep schedule – If you always have to “catch up” on your sleep on the weekends, or you spend your week tired because of the late nights on the weekend, you never gain a healthy rhythm for life. Be reasonably consistent in your bedtime and waking up time and you’ll feel better and enjoy a more productive awake time.

Share time with people you love – The best memories center around time with people we love. When the family is running in many different directions you end the weekend feeling like you “missed” the weekend. Limit activities your family commits to or do things your family can do together. This takes prior thought and coordination but makes for a more enjoyable weekend.

Pastors, this list includes you too. I originally wrote it for you and decided to expand it to a more general audience. Your weekend may look different, but you need to protect it. I wrote THIS POST on how I protect my Sabbath.

What tips do you have for a better weekend?

A Dad Loves Uniquely From Any Other Love…

Happy moments

A dad loves uniquely from any other love.

A dad often shares a quieter love, marveling at his children on the inside, yet expressing it differently than mom.

A dad may act silly. Wear funny clothes. And never change his hairstyle, use the same corny jokes or actions, inaudibly enjoying the teasing it brings from his kids and because he loves the sound of his children laughing.

A dad will often stand back, watching as mom dotes, often even pretending he thinks she dotes too much, but so glad that mom dotes on his children.

A dad may pretend to be tough, when really, he’s only a big puppy dog, and this is many times only realized later in his life.

A dad might let mom take the phone call from the kids, but then ask lots of questions after the phone call ends.

A dad loves to sacrifice, work hard for his children, not doing it for recognition, but secretly relishing when his children do realize he did it just for them.

A dad might dismiss the need for attention. Say he doesn’t need anything. Act like he’s good with less attention on Father’s Day, but a dad warms inside with a simple acknowledgement from his children that he is their dad.

A dad loves uniquely from any other love.

(I realize this us written from the perspective of a dad who is involved in the life of his children…and it won’t fit with every dad. It’s written more in principle than in exact practice. A dad’s love is unique. But, I hope your dad was or is all that you have needed him to be, even though no dad is perfect. If you didn’t have a great experience with your dad, and I know so many who don’t have this story for their life, my heart goes out to you today. That was my story until the last few years of my dad’s life. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to other older men in your church or life and thank them for their influence in your life.)

5 Critical Needs for Dads

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We are in a crisis of men these days. Godly men are in shorter supply. Do a quick Google search and you quickly find some of the ramifications of absentee fatherhood on our society.

As a fellow dad, I want to use this Father’s Day to challenge my male readers. This is for you fathers and fathers-to-be.

Here are 5 critical needs for dads:

Shape up – “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.” (1 Cor 13:11) The privilege of fatherhood should sober us into the responsibility of fatherhood. I’ve met a lot of dads (me at times) who need to grow up so we can better help our kids do the same some day. I am not suggesting we stop having fun. I hope that never stops for me. I’m speaking of childlike immaturity that injures healthy relationships. I can never forget that my children will often be partially shaped for life by my example. For example: Where do you need to put away childish ways? Is it with your senseless anger? Is it in your pity party practices? Are you like a toddler when it comes to patience? Are you selfish with your toys?

Step up - I’ve never known a godly woman who didn’t want her husband to take the godly role of spiritual leadership. I’ve known lots of men who didn’t know how so they never even try. Men, we need to take an active leadership role in our home. We need to lead our families boldly towards Christ. The world isn’t going to do this for us and neither should the church have to do it. The church should be our partners, but our role as dads is to lead. Do it! In what ways do you need to better lead your home?

Show up – That means “Be there”. Don’t dump the responsibility for your home on your wife. Be there from the crying babies and the dirty diapers, to the rebellious teenager and the sex talk. Your children will spell your influence in their life many times with one word…TIME. Would your children say they feel they are a priority in your schedule and your attention?

Stand up – “As for me and my house…” Men, we need to protect our family, wherever possible, from the ills of this world. When my boys were young, I monitored what we watched on television and what we listened to on the radio. I enforced Scripture in the home as best I could. I led our family to discuss Biblical principals. I wasn’t always popular with them for every decision I made, but I’m thankful today for the foundation my boys have and the Christian lives they are living. I believe much of that is a direct result of decisions Cheryl and I made, (and Cheryl allowed me to make) to take a stand in our home when the boys were young. Men, what stand do you need to take to better lead your family towards truth?

Serve up - I heard a preacher many years ago, early in my life as a husband and father, that he wanted to “out serve” his family. I’ve set that as a goal ever since. I want my wife and children to recognize I’m willing to sacrifice my desires for theirs. I heard a story of a family who never knew their father’s favorite piece of fried chicken was the leg. He never ate it. Years later they learned it was because he thought it was the best piece and so he always saved it for them. I’m not advocating you skip the chicken leg, but that man had an attitude of sacrifice. That level of commitment won’t be done holding the television remote all the time. It will more likely be done holding a wash rag and a bucket of water. How can you better serve your family?

This is a tough stuff. I know it. When I offer such a challenge I sometimes hear from men who say too much is expected of men already and I shouldn’t bash them more. They mention the sitcoms where the man is always made out to be the idiot who never does the right thing. I get all that. And, I agree. This is not intended to be more stress, but I believe we need more accountability not less. More leadership. Not less. We need to raise the standard for authentic manhood. It’s been lowered enough. We need men willing to defy the norms and be men of God. Men who are bold in their love of family, bold in their faith in God, and bold in guiding their family to better reflect Christ to the world.

Here’s to the challenge men! I’m praying for you as you love and serve your families.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! I believe in you!

You may want to read:

10 Things I’d Do If Raising a Daughter Today

10 Things I’d Do If Raising a Son Today

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Go to Bed Tonight

father-daughter

Did I begin today in prayer?

Have I read my Bible today?

Did I give today my best efforts?

Did I make someone’s life a little better today?

Did I take steps towards the dreams I have and God has for my life today?

How did I add value to the world around me today?

Was my attitude ever in the way of me or others having a productive, happy day?

Can I put today behind me, go to sleep, and give tomorrow another chance?

How can I improve my answers tomorrow night?

Am I ending today in prayer?

12 Random Pieces of Life I Love

Grandmother with grandson having fun at home - whispering secret

Sometimes it’s the little things.

A lazy Sunday afternoon nap after a great morning at church.

Picking raspberries in Michigan and “testing” them along the way.

Inside jokes with friends.

A song that brings back a nearly forgotten memory.

Sitting on a porch swing listening to a gentle rain.

Laughing as a puppy plays.

Discovering a “hidden gem” of a restaurant when not even looking.

Wrestling with a two year old boy.

Sharing a smile with someone you love.

Waking up at Grandma’s to the smell of fresh coffee and breakfast.

A small child whispering in your ear.

Saturday mornings with no agenda.

That’s 12 of mine. Add one, two or twelve of yours.

Take time today to reflect on the moments that make memories.

And don’t forget…

Sometimes it’s the little things.

12 Things I’d Do If I Had a Perfect Marriage

Still In Love

I don’t have a perfect marriage. I have a good marriage. We work at it.

But, it isn’t perfect. Our marriage…probably like yours…is a work in progress. And, the reason we don’t have a perfect marriage is because there are two imperfect people in this marriage…just like in your marriage.

But through years of counseling and working with hundreds of marriages in distress, I have a few thoughts on what it would take to have the perfect marriage. I’m not saying I will ever get there. You won’t either. But, having a standard to push for, that I actually push for, always seems to make me better than I am today…and I am striving.

And, it takes two people working for the same goal. Doesn’t it? Many of you know that all too well. It’s always sad to me when one person gives up on the challenge.

But, all I know to advise people to do is to do your part. And, I’ll try to do mine. The best I know how. (Which some days is better than others.) Hopefully two hearts will be joined together more and more into one heart if each of us strive to do our part.

But, if I had a perfect marriage…

Here are 12 things I’d do:

Never go to bed angry.

Always consider her interest ahead of mine.

Invest my best time, apart from my time with Christ, in her.

Love Christ deeply and model His love for her.

Protect her heart. Above all things.

Value her more for who she is than what she does.

Honor her with my words, always striving to build her up and encourage her.

Listen to her, without trying to fix every problem she has.

Pray for her more than for myself.

Encourage her dreams and be her biggest cheerleader.

Never take what we have for granted.

Remind her often all the reasons I married her…and that I’d do it all over again.

That’s my list.

Which of these do you most need to incorporate into your marriage? Maybe if we…I….just worked on one of these at a time…we’ have…I’d have…an even better marriage than we have today.

What would you add?

10 Remembrances on Memorial Day

American Heroes II

Today we remember.

Your sacrifice.
Your pride of duty.
Your love of freedom.
Your strength.
Your family’s commitment.
Your courage.
Your patriotism.
Your honor.
Your contribution.
Your legacy.

Happy Memorial Day!

Thank you!

(Memorial Day has rightly expanded focus in recent years to honor all troops, past and present. In days of extreme, continual sacrifice of our military we can never say thank you enough. A special thank you to veterans John R. Edmondson, Sr. (Air Force), John R. Edmondson, Jr. (Navy) and Dr. J F Burney (Army) Father, brother and father-in-law to me. All of you soldiers, and your families, have made and are making us proud.)

Anyone you especially remember on a day like today?

5 Reasons We Attend Church While on Vacation

destin beach

As you consider your vacation this year, I want to encourage you to find a church wherever you are and visit.

One of the first things Cheryl and I do when we go out of town is look for a place to attend church on Sunday. We’ve had some incredible experiences attending other churches and its one of our favorite parts about vacation.

I know many pastors who look forward to some weeks they don’t have to attend church. I have often been asked if we are legalistic because we don’t take a vacation from church while on vacation. Do we feel we “must” attend church in vacation? Is it because I’m a pastor?

Absolutely not. We feel no obligation. It’s what we want to do.

Here are 5 reasons we attend church on vacation:

We love church. Church is the best part of our week. We don’t view church as an obligation. It is a privilege. We believe the church is God’s plan to make disciples. It’s our community. It’s where we find our best friends in life. It is a large part of what fuels us for the week ahead. Why would we take a vacation from that?

We get to worship without distraction. Honestly, Sunday can be a very distracting day for Cheryl and me. We are both busy with ministry obligations. On vacation we are freed to worship.

We get to sit together. Cheryl is beside me during the worship portion of the service, but she has never stood beside me while I preach…even as many times as I’ve asked her to. :) Actually, we did dance together on stage in one service. On vacation we enjoy being together for an entire service.

We learn from others. I love sitting under the teaching of other pastors. Cheryl never admits to anyone preaching better than me, but she seems to take plenty of notes when we are out of town. :) We also always go home with new ideas and renewed energy from attending other churches.

We get to encourage another pastor. We know how much we love visitors. On vacation, we get to attend another church, pray for the pastor, and many times meet and pray for the pastor and pastor’s spouse. Those have been awesome experiences over the years.

Please understand. I’m not saying you have to attend church when you’re on vacation, but don’t dismiss it too quickly either. It could be one of the greater parts of your vacation. (And if you’re ever in Lexington for vacation, come see us. Did you read my post about vacationing here?)

Do you ever attend church when you’re on vacation?