How much time did you spend with your family in the snow? Here is a funny short film about that very topic!
A question I was recently asked by a wife and mother was how she could respectfully get her husband to be a more involved dad. I personally understand all that we dad’s do as providers, but the question is very relevant. Many times both parents work to make ends meet, but it doesn’t give us a pass to ignore our roles as parents.
Link to Audio. Are you a parent who is so stressed about daily affairs, deadlines and hobbies in your life that you are neglecting one of your most precious gifts God has ever given you? The blessings from the Lord in the form of our sons and daughters? Are you a dad who is successful in the eyes of the world and yet you feel like a failure as a parent? I don’t separate convenient parents from hard working business parents because the result is still the same. The children tend to feel like more of an inconvenient burden, than a blessing to you.
I think we sometimes need to imagine from a spiritual aspect what our children would be like if they took on all of our traits and daily life habits. I hope it would make us begin to be more concerned and aware of our own daily choices, and decisions. Are we honoring Christ throughout the day or catering to our own selfish desires and habits? And just so you know, this is already happening whether you want to admit it or not.
Written by Steve Goode
I have a test for those claiming to be a Christian dad.
If there is no daily prayer with your children
If there is no daily prayer with your wife
If you don’t try and have a family Bible study regularly
If Jesus isn’t spoken of naturally, regularly and intentionally
If church is just a weekly optional obligation
If there is no sense of oneness in your family
Then what makes you any different than a non-believers home? Truth is there isn’t.
Read Ephesians 4:17-24 If you are one of those dads who do all these things I praise your efforts. Problems may still exists, but they seem so much smaller under the lens of intentional Christian living and striving.
By Steve Goode
It had been a rush of a good Saturday since my feet hit the floor this morning. Two counseling appointments at the church, Christology research, more homework, and a sick wife and daughter. How I have managed to dodge this fever-ridden, cough inducing demon is beyond me, but needless to say it was a crazy day. I was hoping to see a friend who was doing a conference in the area this Saturday, but by the time I got home it was already three o’clock and the Travis Cottrell concert was set to kick off at 6:30. I played with my son briefly, took care of some important chores, and finished a twenty-five piece puzzle with my three year old Savannah. Why do Saturdays seem to always be so rushed? There must be at least one day in the week to chill! The plan was that since April was sick, Noah, my seven year old, would go with me to the concert and we would stay until it was near his bedtime and return home. We scrambled out the door at 6:00 PM with just enough time to hit the McDonald’s drive-thru for a traditional cheeseburger happy meal, and headed down I-85 to the church. My phone alerted me repeatedly on the way to church that I had an important incoming text message from the weather center warning of severe storms in the area. Should I just turn the car around and take us home. No! I was determined for Noah and I to go through with this! When we pulled in the parking lot the lightning and rain were parking too! Thud! Crash! Cool daddy! Did you see that one?
We walked into the church in time for me to realize that my tickets for the concert were on the dresser at home where I changed clothes before coming tonight. Fortunately I knew the ticket takers or we may have never experienced what was yet to come this evening. Noah and I decided to sit in one of the less populated areas of seating, and there was a nice sized crowd in the auditorium. Jonathan Lowery made the opening remarks and turned the stage over to Travis at which time both projector screens lit up with opening words of worship and softer music.Travis opened with Forevermore which began building an excitement that could only point to Jesus! Noah kept wanting to lay down and put his head on my lap during the concert and for just a moment I thought I had found a good excuse not to stand. It all sounded like a pretty good plan until the 100 plus member praise and worship choir and band began to sing the song “We Bring Honor Glory and Praises.” The sound of all those voices began to fill the auditorium and people began standing and raising their hands in a vocal symphony of harmonic praise! It’s as though any excuse I had made to stay seated was totally forgotten and all I wanted to do was stand to praise and honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Noah just wanted to stay seated at this point and I didn’t push it. Each song of worship built on the next as hundreds of believers raised their voices and hands in honor and praise to Jesus. Scriptures flooded through my mind of praise and worship. It made me begin thinking of the passage, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32)
At one point Travis began asking those in the audience of a word that would describe Jesus. Some shouted provider, glory, deliverer, encourager. I am pretty sure I heard GLORY more than once during the concert. My favorite was thankful. One of the most notable things Travis Cottrell said tonight was after eliciting responses that had to do with being thankful. He stated, “One day when we stand before God and give an account of our works I don’t think God is going to say, I think you thanked me a little too much at the concert at Northside Baptist.” Laughter erupted and we continued singing and praising God.
My most memorable moment occurred when we were singing praise to God and I reached a point where I was so moved with gratitude and thanks for my Savior that tears welled in my eyes. I tried to speak, but I couldn’t. It was such a holy and revealing moment because all I could do was weep and pray silently. I literally became overwhelmed by the worship. I think God shut my mouth so I wouldn’t ruin the moment with some stupid meaningless catch-phrase. At the same moment all this was occurring I felt this little head nuzzle against my side, and this little hand grab my right hand. When I looked down two precious little tear stained brown eyes were staring back up at me. Noah wanted to stand with me and even sing some of the praise songs he knew. It was a moment I will never forget.
When Travis began singing the song “Moses” I don’t think Noah blinked the entire song. I whispered to him that we were going to have to leave at about 8:00 PM and thought he would be ready. He told me he wanted to stay longer and see the whole concert. Although it wasn’t even a possibility I think it spoke to the ministry of Travis. The range of ages that attended the concert tonight was from younger than seven, all the way to senior adult. I believe this style of concert showed a great deal of diversity and breadth. Travis could be successful within a number of genres, but has chosen to reach out to both young and old with the message of praising our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that other singers will take note of this as they seek the Lord’s will in their praise and worship endeavors.
I am thankful to Northside Baptist for choosing to bring Travis Cottrell to Charlotte, and thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus for giving us the privilege of honoring and serving Him through our worship and praise.
A Reflection from Childhood into the life of Chris Lee
By Steve Goode
I have had one of those reflective weekends where I catch myself staring into space and pondering life and death more somberly than usual. I have looked at my seven year old son Noah with a different depth and feel since the afternoon of Saturday April 9th when I arrived home and took a quick glance, if there is such a thing, at Facebook checking the likes, comments, and who-cares. I would have logged out and headed straight for the pile of books in my living room, but a distant name caught my eye from my friends list. In fact this particular name was so distant that we haven’t seen each other face to face in more than 32 years, and yet I couldn’t shake the need to look further. Chris Lee? I do remember friending him in 2010, and I even remember him posting a funny and friendly message on my wall kidding about how long it had been and how nice it was to hear from me! It was December 21, 2010 at 9:04 PM to be exact. Facebook is great for leaving a trail.
Last time we had even seen each other I didn’t even have a drivers license or job. I had to really work to remember my relationship to Chris it had been so long. We were never really buds, and didn’t really hang out, but for some reason I had fond memories of Chris. They weren’t like detailed and specific memories, but every time I envisioned his 14 year old face it had a smile on it laced with a whole lot of playful mischief. He made me laugh!
As I searched for the memories of Chris what kept returning to my mind was the smile, laughter, and the fact that he had been liked by more girls at 14 than I had by graduation, but I ‘m not jealous of course! But life didn’t stop for Chris nor myself at 14 when my dad was called away from the First Baptist Church to a church 400 miles away in Greensboro North Carolina. Chris was forgotten by me, but his life was just starting. You see, this is where it gets foggy for me to tell this story, but I began to dig, as most x-cops do, to see what else I could learn about what Chris had done with his life through the years. Many that may read this can tell this story much clearer than I, and many have made lots of memories through the years with and around Chris. Many times the years drastically change who we are, sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the bad, but in Creek’s case none of the above. Even the many comments on his Facebook page from hurting friends recall the fact that Chris was just Chris, rain or shine. He wasn’t interested in being hypocritical, but genuine.
In the book of James 1:22-25 it speaks of someone being more than just a hearer of the Bible, but a doer. It uses the depiction of a man who looks in the mirror and then walks away forgetting quickly who he was. Based on the testimony of his friends I believe Chris was one of those who never forgot what he saw in the mirror, but always understood who he was. A sinner saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ alone trying to be a living example of genuineness and light to all he ever met. I am not trying to depict Creek as a saint by any means, we all have fallen short, (Rom 3:23) but I do believe that Chris was a beacon of hope and encouragement to the friends and co-workers in his sphere of influence while here on earth.
One area that I have strived to be faithful in as a daddy is keeping that strong relationship with my son who is also named Noah. From some of the comments from Chris it appears he was very passionate in this area with his son Noah. I read some of the comments of how proud he was, and how he really understood that Noah was a gift from the Lord. It reminds me of a Psalm 127:3 where it tells us that they are literal gifts from God placed in our care. I saw comments where Noah really loved his daddy too, and I know this will be one of the most defining moments for his little heart as it endures the pain of loss. It really makes you want to question God like Habakkuk did over all the injustice he saw in the world and wanting answers to his questions. Ultimately he had to trust that God knew what he was doing, and it appears we will have to follow suit while praying for the right influences of love and guidance to help raise and nurture Creek’s most prized treasure. From the comments I have seen, I am prayerful that will not be an issue.
Enduring the Pain of Loss
Usually this would be a good time to quote Romans 8:28, but it is a passage that is more effective at times in reflection as the Holy Spirit provides the comfort we need through the throttled up phases of pain. Those moments when the stomach never stops fluttering, and as C.S. Lewis described of his own pain, “At times it feels like mildly being drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says.” (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Shared)
There is family and many friends who are feeling the sudden, excruciating, and unexplainable feelings of loss and sadness right now. You may be looking for answers to why this happened at such a young and “full of life” age! It has impacted all of us aged forty-something adults and friends who see what appears to be good suffer and evil prosper! Creek had overcome so much and kept his laughter and smile undamaged, and we just want to know how to respond to such an unexpected and devastating loss of a good person! It is understandable to feel this way, but what we all need to realize is that Chris’s mission is far from completed!
Chris’s Mission has not Ended
Just because Chris is in the presence of Jesus and away from his earthly family and friends doesn’t mean his influence and ministry is done! He has left an evidenced Godly legacy. Each one of you carries a piece of Creek’s story everywhere you go. From the stories of laughter, and even to the stories of heartbreak in his life. You will honor his memory and legacy by the ways you learn from the lessons of Chris’s life both good and bad. The first lesson we will all take to heart is making an inventory of our life and measuring it against where God desires us to be. Psalm 139:23 says to “Search me oh God, and know my heart.” We have learned from Chris that this is not something to procrastinate about and put off! We need to act now before it is too late. Not one of us is promised another minute of life beyond the next breath. I can speak from experience because I was there to watch my mom breath her very last breath on earth. There are no promises so do not delay!
Take Action in your own Life
Once you have assessed your own life against God’s measure it will be time to enact your changes. The first priority is to see if you have ever committed your heart and life to Jesus Christ. Jesus who is God in the flesh told us that He alone is the way, truth and life, and no one gets to the Father but through Him! (John 14:6) The reason we speak of a Chris who has gone to Heaven is because he committed his heart and life to Jesus Christ. Chris did nothing to earn this gift, but only because he acknowledged his need to be redeemed by Jesus! (Romans 10:9) Maybe you are a Christian who is just out of fellowship and you need to re-engage and get back involved. This period, when you feel an urgency to do something, is the best time to act!
Never Forget the Pain you Now Feel
No pain endured by us is ever pointless or in vain. In fact James gives us a guarantee that pain and trials will visit us in this life (Jm 1:2-4) This pain you now feel will be something that God uses later in your life to minister to someone else who is suffering from a loss. Your pain will help you minister more effectively and with much more empathy and compassion so never block the pain. Use it to the glory of God! (Col 3:23)
We Will Miss You Creek
As close friends and family experience this loss I want to share my deepest sympathy and will be doing more than “thinking”, but praying for you each day, as will my 7 year old in our nightly prayer times. I also pray you will use this as a teachable moment with your kids, and may it draw you closer to them. May we all honor Chris’s memory with smiles and reflections that will make us more of what God desires for us to be each day.
In closing let me just say that when it comes to the legacy we leave behind as Christians when we die, whether young or old, maybe the measure of our impact really isn’t the number of people bitterly mourning and weeping at our funeral, but the scores of people who are laughing and smiling as they share wonderful testimonies to our life and the Savior we serve. It’s understandable that we hurt, but let us do so without the sting that death has to those who don’t know Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians15:55)We will see Chris again if we have committed our heart and life to Jesus Christ and I am looking forward to that future reunion day!
Written by Steve Goode
Steve’s son Noah Goode with his Great Grandmother Annie Durham when she was 102. She is now 104!
With all the chaotic demands in the world today for rights, benefits, and entitlements, it has made me consider what type of gift truly has genuine worth. Is there something out there that we are truly owed in our society, and even our family? Even when I was in policework I remember how families divided and crumbled over dividing the inheritance of a deceased loved one, and it begins to make one wonder what we truly deserve. Seriously, is there something I am missing here? Do we truly have the right to demand anything even if it is gifted to us? Money, a car, a house? Should these temporal things matter to us so much in this brief life or is there something more that we should be seeking or demanding?
Let’s talk briefly about what we truly deserve in this life from a Christian’s perspective. We came into this world as a sinner guilty before a holy God. (Rom 3:23) If you don’t believe me then reference the Ten Commandments and you will find that you have violated more than one of them. (Ex 20) If this is the case, there is a price you will pay for your sinful condition, which is death. (Rom 6:23) In the same scripture passage I just noted there is an invitation to a gift that God has made available to us all provided in the form of His Son Jesus. Without the atoning death of Jesus there was no way for us to bridge the gap between us and a holy God. Jesus is the Son of God, and second person in the Trinity who was born of a virgin. He was both fully God and fully man when He came to earth. He lived a sinless life and ministered as noted in the Gospels both teaching and performing miracles. He offered up himself on the cross to provide a once and for all sacrifice, and atone for our sins! He made a way for us to have fellowship with the Father.(2 Cor 5:21) As much as Christ did this “once and for all” work for us on the cross, it is a gift that we must take possession of. I can place a Ferrari in your driveway and leave the keys in the ignition, but until you sit in the drivers seat and turn the key, it is of no use to you. Can you begin to imagine all the people in the world that will never accept the gift Jesus has freely offered to us? Billions in the world who will never accept what Jesus has done for them through his once and for all work on the cross. An eternal inheritance that will remain unclaimed for all eternity that was there for the taking. Instead, many will spend their entire lives embittered to temporal demands of rights, money, and entitlements, which will be lost and tossed when they die and enter into eternity having left their eternal inheritance unclaimed.
Photo below is Steve and Noah at the grave of his father and mother
So my question to you is what can we leave to our family that will have eternal value regardless of the response of our sons and daughters?
I don’t know how better to illustrate this than to tell you about the death of my own mother and father, and the inheritance that was left to me.
Steve’s Dad pins his badge on the day he was sworn in Greensboro NC 1986
It was Friday, August 25, 2000 and my father had been in Forsyth Medical Center in Winston Salem Since the previous Saturday. Although his condition was critical, I never anticipated him not coming home from the hospital. I remember receiving the call from my work site in Greensboro that I needed to proceed to the hospital right away. I was met by my wife April on the Cardiac floor and she was sobbing. She said dad was gone and had died an hour earlier. His death was agonizing to me because he was such a rock of comfort and counsel in my life. The following year was defining for me, especially since dad was very close to both April and I. Almost three years later on August 16, 2003 I was at the bedside of my mom after she suffered an aneurysm behind the wheel of a car. My brother, niece and nephew, and I stood by the bedside at Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem as mom took her last breath on earth. They are remembered by me and many others daily, but what I treasure the most about their passing is what they unselfishly left to my brother and I.
You see my parents gave sacrificially their whole lives for the sake of others. I remember churches where my dad’s whole salary was less than 50 dollars a week, but he always preached million dollar sermons. Mom always took care of the ledger, and although there were times we were truly considered poor, my brother and I never realized it. My parents were always stewardly with their money, but never lived comfortably by any stretch of the imagination. So what is it that mom and dad left me that I treasure more than fine gold and precious silver? A Godly legacy. They lived their lives in such a way that I have strived to model their Godly character through my life and the life of my family. A Godly legacy isn’t just a good option, but a requirement for the eternal benefit of our family and children. You may not be able to control the moment and manner in which you leave this earth, but you can control the way you live each moment of your life now. “Choose you this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
By Steve Goode
The transparent, honest truth is that I thought this day of traveling would never end. We had just left our friends house in Columbia, Tennessee after some great lunch and much needed fellowship, and I was just tired and ready to be at our hotel in Tuscaloosa. You could say that I had gone into the stereo-typical primitive male version of the conquest mode. We were on our way to Tuscaloosa Alabama where I was scheduled to preach a Sunday homecoming service at Grants Creek Baptist church days after their worst tornado in recorded history. Our seven and three year old had been buckled into their car seats for more than eleven hours in the past two days and we all were all a little frayed around the edges. As much as we loved being together I must admit that patience began to be a commodity that was as hard to find as dollar a gallon gasoline at certain moments. You know what I mean if you have a red blooded family. Even the most Christian family has moments when even the slightest gestures can start seeming like nails across a chalkboard.
We had entered the outskirts of Birmingham off interstate 20 where my wife April wanted to pick up some items at Target. We thought it was best to get what we really needed before entering the Tuscaloosa area because there were still hundreds of thousands without power in Alabama. While at Target I needed to pick up some basic necessities such as a new University of Alabama ball cap, a staple good for those of us who were born in Tuscaloosa. If I didn’t happen to mention it, my point of origin is Tuscaloosa.
My seven year old, Noah and I purchased our items and proceeded out to one of the benches in front of the Target store so that I could relax, and so that Noah could climb up and over the red balls. Any parent with children who has ever been to Target knows exactly what I am talking about. It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday and it appeared that everyone from Birmingham was here at the Target. I began thinking about the fact that this would be an ideal Kodak moment for Noah and I! I had my brand new Crimson Tide ballcap and I could seal this moment in history with a daddy son picture on one of the benches outside of the Target!
I didn’t have my Canon EOS camera handy, but my Droid X takes some pretty sharp and amazing pictures, although I wish they would have just put a simple button on the side of my phone for click. Too much detail I know, I am digressing. I got Noah to get close to me, and I held the camera out at arms length to take the picture, and then I would crop the pic later so it was framed right for Facebook. That’s what Noah says anytime I take a pic or he wants his pic taken. Daddy, take a picture of me and put it on Facebook!
The sun was pretty bright as we were attempting to get the picture, and Noah kept whining and squinting saying the sun was hurting his eyes. Although we were not in the direction of the sun, Noah kept squinting every single time I would click, and I became unreasonably impatient. No matter where we re-positioned ourselves Noah would squint, and whine. I was to the point of just saying forget it, when my darling wife April came out of Target. She took my camera-phone, which freed my hands up to position Noah on the bench, but he still continued to squint and whine almost to the point of crying. This was the point where I just should have said to forget it, and hit the road, but I am sorry to say that I didn’t.
There are times as a parent when we just need to back away and disengage before things get out of hand, but the truth is we all fail at this from time to time, and today was my day. I became so frustrated at attempting to get Noah to relax, that he became stressed. April had hinted to me to forget about it, but I didn’t relent. In a burst of frustration I finally opened my big, deep, and wide mouth and said to Noah, “Quit acting like such a wimp! The sun is not so bright that you have to squint!” There, it was out there. My big fat mouth had uttered hurtful words I could never reel back in. April rightfully gave me the look, Noah’s shoulders slumped, and I had just exepediently “fixed” everything. Yea for me! April snapped one more shot of Noah and I, then our three year old Savannah was not going to be left out and joined us. In fact Savannah began copying Noah’s expressions and literally broke the tension that I had created.
I know some daddies that would allow for the silence to act as their so-called healing mechanism in this scenario, but I knew to do so would be to ignore my sin of impatience, and hurtful words. God had allowed my idiocy to occur, and a teachable moment was developing for both Noah, and myself.
We walked across the parking lot to our minivan and Noah opened his door and was buckling into his seat. As he started to close his door, I stopped him, wrapped both my arms around him and proceeded to tell him something. “Noah what I said to you earlier was wrong, and uncalled for. You are not a wimp, but a son I love and I am very proud of. Please forgive me for saying that to you.” Noah teared up, and I teared up and he forgave me for letting him down and speaking to him in a way that did not build him up. It was a true teachable moment.
Some daddies may be scratching their head wondering what I did wrong. Maybe you are one of those daddies who says a lot worse to your kids on a regular basis. It could be that you are so conditioned to being disrespectful to your children with your mouth that it just doesn’t seem bad. To those daddies or mommies let me clear this up. To speak to your child like I spoke to my son is a sin against your children and God!
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Many times parents will stop at Ephesians 6:1 where it says for children to obey their parents, and fail to realize that parents have a Biblical duty to nurture their children. There may be moments you feel like a drill instructor with your children, but there is so much more to raising them the way God requires us to. You see, the problem with my response to Noah was never his fault. I may have been frustrated with him, but the impatience and hurtful words were not what God wanted me to implement. I was wrong, and my son deserved to know that I was sorry and loved him.
Is there someting you need to go say to your son or daughter right now because of the way you have responded to them? Have you called them a name or reacted either in body language or words, in a way that has created a teachable moment with your children? If the answer is yes, and I know good and well it is in a lot of cases, do not wait to talk to them, and ask their forgivess! Some of you may say that I do not understand. You are afraid your children will hold it against you or manipulate it. The truth is I do understand! Less than 30 feet from where I type this article sleeps my little three year old cherabim with horns! Don’t tell me I don’t understand! But whether I understand or not, doesn’t change what the Bible requires of you.
My prayer is that all Christian parents would begin to understand that they have the answers to raising their children right in front of them on their coffee table. The Bible, and proper discipleship can encourage and help you even when you feel at witts end.
Choose for you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
Joshua 24:15 has been abbreviated in the article. Please reference it in your Bible for the full context.