You Have Permission

you have permission

After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy. (The Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 2:19)

I am often reminded, humbled, and to be completely honest – somewhat terrified –  by the speed at which life often seems to be going!

I told my wife the other day that we had 3,285 days left until our oldest kid would be an adult and how fast the previous 3,285 days have gone. It seems like that is a lot of time. But it has FELT like a vapor.

As I was processing this and wrestling through the challenges, opportunities, and pressures that come alongside work, ministry, and other responsibilities, I could sense God reminding me of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 2. For the apostle Paul, “ministry” was local, personal, and incredibly intentional.

I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you are a parent, and I want to remind you today that you have God’s permission to be radical, extravagant, intentional, and “over-the-top” in your love, passion, and investment into the lives of your kids, regardless of their age.  Don’t allow a day to slip by without loving them in a tangible way!

In her very helpful book, Sacred Rhythms, Ruth Haley Barton says that we often approach our relationship with God in a random haphazard way:

Many of us try to shove spiritual transformation into the nooks and crannies of a life that is already unmanageable, rather than being willing to arrange our life for what our heart most wants. We think that somehow we will fall into transformation by accident (146-147).

How many of us often approach our parenting with this same “haphazard” way of thinking? Then, even worse, some of us who feel like we have to be all things to all people and say “yes” to every request, we then over-crowd our schedules to the point where our kids are simply one more item on a never-ending to do list. It can all feel very defeating.

Today, I want to encourage you (and me!) that we have permission to zone in on the incredible opportunities we have every day at leading, challenging, taking steps of faith/risk/courage with the kid(s) that God entrusted to our unique care.

The apostle Paul, who felt the burden of sharing the message of God’s redeeming news with the whole world, ultimately took an approach that was local, personal, and very intentional.  So you, too, have permission to go over-the-top with those entrusted to your care.

What WILL be your proud reward and crown when you stand before the Lord? I’m becoming more and more convinced that my gauge for “success” is the wrong gauge, and I need to get it right!

So… take a deep breath… zone in right where God has you:  You Have Permission!



Fresh Start Parenting: From Discouragement to Victory

Fresh Start Parenting

Ever been to the English countryside along the Atlantic coast? I was there, not long ago. Just imagine a postcard of endless, perfect farms with approximately a zillion sheep each, and you'd have it about right, except for one thing – the wind – … [Continue reading]

Mundane or Magical?


Mundane: 1. Lacking interest or excitement; dull. 2. Of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one. Does this description fit? Of your life I mean? At times do you sense the world parading by living their exciting, … [Continue reading]

What It Means to Start Again in this Man-Making Business

what it means to start again in this man-making

“You're starting again?” I get the same response every time I explain the ages of my six kids: 24, 21, 19, . . . 6, 4, and 3. “You could be empty nesters, traveling the world, and driving a convertible.” “Yes,” I nod. “Yes, I … [Continue reading]

Asian Salmon, Only 4 Ingredients!

Asian Salmon quick and easy 4 ingredients

I have to thank my dad for this amazing concoction . . . When growing up, his meals were always called "Daddy's Surprise" and almost always included potatoes and eggs in some form. However, this recipe contains neither, and far exceeds the typical … [Continue reading]

It Starts with Me

Discipleship Starts with Me

She opened the package with excitement in her eyes. Any child is excited to receive good old fashioned snail-mail, but a package — and from great grandma? This promised to be special. Tearing open the paper, she found no disappointment. Pink, … [Continue reading]

Have You Got Your Ears On?

walkie talkie 013

My wife picked out our freshly-five-year-old son’s birthday present, a pair of walkie-talkies. He was thrilled. “Oh, Mommy! It’s just E-zackly what I wanted. Thank you!” We were pleased, proud, and happy. What amazing parents we were. What gift … [Continue reading]

Stop, Look and Listen: The Teachings of a Tenacious Toddler

stop, look, and listen: the teachings of a tenacious toddler

  My two-year-old — crooked pig-tails bouncing — pulls hard on my hand, afraid to let go lest she lose me to the mountains of laundry I started (but have yet to finish), the pile of crumbs I swept (but have yet to pick up), the naked beds I stripped … [Continue reading]

How Training Your Child Can Bring New Peace into Your Home

How Training Your Child Can Bring New Peace into Your Home

Like dumpin' bugs out of a jar. That's how their daddy often described it. Our little ones were prone to scatter and wander at will. Each of them with his or her own agenda, heading out in a different direction of their very own. So full of … [Continue reading]

The Fine Art of Selection


Life consists largely of selection—choosing one alternative over another. Those things we choose are our priorities. Deciding “I’ll read the Bible and pray when I can find the time” is like saying “I’ll give to God’s work when I can find the … [Continue reading]