Posts Tagged ‘family’

RB33 (2)

This year, we officially added two new members to our family. Meet Emanuel James and Juan Matthew Bloodworth.

Our journey through Foster Care and Adoption began when I was born.  My eternal family changed through the love of my earthly family and God has laid it on our hearts to help as many kids as we can.  We are strong advocates of Foster Care and Adoption.

 

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(Pictured L to R = Manny, Zeke & Juan–Taken just after placement in Dec. 2013. NOTE: They’re each missing their two front teeth!) The boys each have “lofty” Biblical names.  Emanuel James = Manny was born on Christmas Day. He was born premature and will have some health issues for the rest of his life. Ezekiel Josiah = Zeke was adopted at birth. He was named after the prophet Ezekiel in the Bible who was called the “watchman of Israel”. And his biological mother chose his middle name, Josiah who was the “youngest king in all Israel.” The Bible says, “he turned neither to the right nor to the left and walked in the ways of his father David.”  Juan Matthew = Juan was named after the disciple.

For those of you who know my story, names are significant in our family. I was named after my dad’s best friend (Dennis) who was a missionary to the Philippines.

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We love having a large family.  It’s awesome to see how the kids all just “fit” together.  The cool part about being a family is working through life’s adventures together.

IMG_6492This was taken at the Adoption Hearing at the courthouse. At the time this photo was taken, the boys were 6,7,8 and the girls were 16,17,18.

IMG_9036_editChristy and I continue to take life “one day at a time” as parents. We’re not sure how long we will continue to be foster/adoptive parents, however we know that we’re making an impact ONE CHILD AT A TIME.  Please continue to pray for all the kids “in the system”. Pray that God will one day raise up families who will commit to raise them in a godly home.

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My family has a long history of adoption. I was adopted when I was 3 months old. My brother and sister were adopted when they were 2 & 5 years old. (I was 6 at the time). I was fortunate to be raised in a loving, Christian family.  Looking back, I realize just how lucky I was to be a part of something so special.  My brother and sister were, too.  In fact, they had come out of a rough situation.  I believe adoption literally saved their life! [pictured: me; my brother, Ted; sister, Samantha; dad, Richard; mom, Leslie]

Naturally, after starting a family of my own it was our dream from day 1 of our marriage to adopt a child.  After having 3 beautiful daughters, it was a tremendous blessing and answer to prayer that we were able to finally adopt our son, Zeke.  [above picture was taken at Zeke’s adoption with our family and his birth mom Nov. 18, 2006]

Why did we want to adopt?

  • Because the need is so great. There are thousands of kids “in the system.”  Many of them are victims.  Some have suffered abuse (emotional, verbal, physical, etc.) Many of them have suffered from abandonment or neglect.  Some are just victims of circumstance.  (parents have been imprisoned or are unable to care for them financially).  Our thinking is: “They have to go somewhere, why not go to a loving family?”
  • Because our responsibility is high.  We see adoption or foster care as our way of “paying it forward”.  Some people are natural “parents”.  We feel God has gifted us in this capacity. Therefore, like any other God-given gift it’s our responsibility to use this to raise up each child as we’re able.  We want to give them the chance to grow up into the man or woman God destined them to be.
  • Because the impact lasts a lifetime.  It’s a chance for us to really make a difference in the world.  We love to coach.  We love to teach. We love to parent.  When you invest in the younger generation, you invest in the future.  You affect future families.  Future businesses. Future ideals. Who knows what invention this child will create.  What book will they write?  What generosity will they spread?  What idea will they produce? Who’s life will they influence?  What legacy will they leave?  What cure will they discover? What mystery will they solve?
We’re excited to be a part of a great adoption story! It’s cool to know that “adoption” is the word the Bible uses to describe what God has done for us:
Ephesians 1:4-7 (NIV)
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
“Adoption” in this text means to “receive an inheritance that wasn’t previously ours.”  God’s adoption liberated us from sin, pain, death and eternal separation.  I promised not to get “preachy” in this post, but that’s pretty awesome.    Adoption frees, liberates, rescues.
We invite you to join us in adoption or foster care.  Will you open your home and your heart?

Will you consider adoption or foster care as a result of this blog?

If you have an adoption story, we’d love to hear it.  If you are thinking about adopting, we’d love to hear from you!

Dramatic Rescue from a Burning Car

This dramatic video shows an incredible rescue operation by average citizens.  They knew if they didn’t respond, this family would die. At no concern for their safety, they plunged into the fire to save them.   They fervently fought back the flames.  They desperately worked to free them from the wreckage.  It was an awesome achievement!  Spiritually speaking, I notice these parallels:

Jude 1:22-23 (NIV) 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them…”

James 5:19-20 (NIV) 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,
20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV) 22…I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1. Do I have the same sense of urgency for those who don’t know Jesus Christ?

2. What am I willing to risk to help bring someone to Jesus?

3. Do I treat eternity like it’s a life-and-death matter?

Jesus has asked believers in joining his rescue operation.  He has taken the pain for us. He has “snatched us from the fire”.  Let us live with urgency. Let us point people to the life-saving nature of Jesus Christ.

John 3:16-17 (NIV) 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) 1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

Time is the one thing you can’t recapture. Ever missed a moment? Lost an opportunity? Ever look back when the kids are grown and think, “Man, it seems like only yesterday they were babies.”? There’s even a morbid site called “deathclock.com” where it will fictitiously count down the “time” you have remaining.

I don’t want to be one of those guys who looks back on my life in old age and regret how I spent my time. In fact, I read these weird stats:

In an average 83 year lifetime, you will spend…                          [from getmoredone.com]

23 years sleeping                                  2-5 years in the bathroom

19 years working                                  2 years in school

9 playing/recreation                          7 years traveling/in car

6 years eating                                        3 years being sick

1 year going to church  

If I was Aladdin, I’d wish for more TIME. Period. Wouldn’t it be great to have complete control of your calendar?  To be able hold back the clock to accomplish all you want in your day? week? month? year? life?  How many times have you thought, “There’s just not enough time in the day”?  I’m the Lead Pastor of a church with 3 athletic teenage daughters and a 5 year-old son, plus my wife works from home. Believe me, there’s not a week that goes by where we don’t wonder, “where’d the time go?”

Here are some time-management tips I’ve learned along the way. I hope these help you make the most of the time you’ve been given.

1. If YOU don’t prioritize your time, SOMEONE ELSE will do it for you.  It seems like if I’m not disciplined enough to schedule my day, “intruders” will creep in and dominate my time.  The URGENT will replace the IMPORTANT.  You’ve got to be disciplined enough to determine what comes “first” and schedule your events accordingly.  In our house, here’s our priority scale:

Matthew 6:33(NIV) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

a. God – Nothing comes before my personal time with God. I make time 5 days a week to read the Bible & pray (currently, I’m reading through the Bible in a year).  I also plan my week around my Impact Group (Bible study with other families that meets in our home) and my Transformation Group (weekly Accountability group with other men; currently studying Hosea).  And of course, we attend church every weekend as a family. Even our kids know this comes first, so we plan our weekends accordingly and they schedule their time with friends around church events.  It’s amazing, but when God comes first, somehow everything else “fits”.  I challenge you to try it!

b. Family – If you’re married, your family is your next-highest priority.  Your SPOUSE should come first; THEN your kids.  My wife and I are very PROTECTIVE about OUR TIME together.  We take regular date nights and small trips together with just the two of us and we make it a point to talk together each day. We do our best to GUARD these times, even if it means putting our kids ON HOLD for a bit.  We do this to create a STRONG BOND in our marriage. The bottom line is: We didn’t marry the kids. We want to INVEST for our future.  We want to BUILD into something that we’ll have after the kids leave home.  We look forward to GROWING OLD together the rest of our lives.  I’ve seen too many “empty nest” divorces.  Too many times, the parents invest in the KIDS FIRST, only to realize that when they leave home, they don’t know how to connect with their spouse anymore.  The love is gone and the romance has faded. Don’t make that mistake.

With the kids, we try to take them out on “date nights” with mom and dad individually every month. We try to eat dinner together as a family 5 times/week. We take day trips periodically and take a family vacation once or twice a year. We intentionally “CREATE MEMORIES” with the kids that we hope will last a lifetime.

c. Personal – I try to ‘bake in’ regular “me” time for R & R. It’s so valuable, that I encourage this for my staff!  I want my identity to be found more in the stuff I do outside the office than what I do in the office.  My job does not define who I am.  I also try to FLIP THE SWITCH when I come home. (I’m not as good at this as I should be). When I’m AT WORK, I want to devote myself fully.  When I’m AT HOME, I want do devote myself fully. I have to learn to “turn off” my brain and really focus on my family when I walk in the door.

             d. Job (Church) – Christ gave his life for the church. People in ministry remind me of this all the time.  I love my job. I am totally stoked that I GET TO DO THIS for a living!  Nothing gives me more fulfillment than this.  I will always work hard. I will always care for people. I will always strive to IMPROVE my LEADERSHIP.  I do my best to schedule meetings, trips, and conferences that will help others, grow the church, and sharpen my leadership edge.  But I do my best to stay “in bounds” with my priority scale. I have a wife and kids who can help hold me to this and keep me accountable.

[note: If you’re a pastor, DO NOT make the mistake of moving your JOB of working at the church HIGHER on the priority scale. I’ve seen way too many marriages fail and godly men “fall” because of this. A GREAT BOOK on this subject is Andy Stanley’s “Choosing to Cheat”.]

 

2. Be intentional about scheduling times for “rest & recharging”.  The idea of the Sabbath was to completely shut down. To rest. To spend that time honoring God.  I think the practice of the Sabbath is lost on many Americans.

Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV) 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Lack of rest can really “cost” you.  Notice these stats from the American Medical Association:

  • 80% of people are over-stressed on the job
  • 460 Million vacation days per year are turned back in and not used
  • Cost of ‘stress & overcommitment’ costsUSeconomy $300 billion each year.
  • That’s $7500 per employee annually!

I believe the person who makes time for R & R will be a better person. They will be happier & healthier at whatever they do.  Here are some things I try to do during in my R & R times:

Sleep:  Most of us are “sleep deprived”. We should get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per day.  

Health & Fitness:  Running, exercise & healthy eating habits are vital.  Monitor your diet.  Take vitamins. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day will help your energy level, too.  I try to go to the gym 5 days/week.

Try a new hobby:  Soccer, hunting, shooting, and quad riding are some of my favorite activities.  Find something that fuels your passion and go do it.

Plan a hike, trip, or family outing:  Pick a destination to get out of the house and get your mind off of the day to day.

 

3.  Let your personal calendar vs. your professional calendar drive your life.

We do our best to schedule our family times 6 months in advance.  We usually start with the big things like vacations, or day-trips and go from there.  There are date nights for mom & dad, specific time with the kids, etc.  The farther planned our personal calendar is, the less chance our “work” calendar will interfere.

 

I hope some of these tips have given new priority to how you spend your time.  Let’s make the most of the time we have.  Each moment is precious. Each day is valuable.  Don’t waste it!

James 4:13-15 (NIV) 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

What time is it?

What’s in a name?  Several years ago, I remember reading an article about the oddities of names linked with people’s professions.

Goforth and Ketchem were police officers.  Will Deal was a car salesman.  Will Burn & Frizzle  were executed in Florida by the electric chair. Will Drop was a Montreal window washer died by accident.  Joe Bunt was a baseball player. Dan Druff was a barber. O’Neill & Pray sold church equipment.  Flick Ashe worked at a tobacco plant.  Dr. Cutright was a gifted surgeon. Beth Newhouse = real estate agent. P P Peters was a urologist.  And so on…

Names are significant.  In early history, a person was DEFINED by their name.  It carried deep meaning and stood for something, good or bad.

In some of the oldest parts of the Bible, we see names and their significance:

Genesis 21:5-7 (NIV) 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac (laughter) was born to him. 6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

1 Chronicles 4:9 (NIV) 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez (caused pain), saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.”

Isaiah 7:14 (NIV) 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (God with us).

What does your name mean?   Have you researched your history? I was fortunate enough to have a namesake with a great story.  I was named after my dad’s best friend Dennis McKinney.  He was a missionary to the Philippines. He and his family started over 150 churches in the surrounding islands.  Unfortunately, Dennis was taken home to be with the Lord at the young age of 50, but his family continues their work there to this day.  That motivates me!

Because our first 3 kids were beautiful little girls, I decided let my wife name our daughters.  When we adopted our son, we agreed that I’d get to name him. I had several years to think about it, so I wanted to choose a name of Biblical significance.

We allowed his birthmom to choose his middle name and she selected “Josiah”. 

Here’s what the Bible says about him:

2 Kings 22:1-2 (NIV) 1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

2 Kings 23:24-25 (NIV) 24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did–with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

I chose the name “Ezekiel”.  Here’s what the Bible says about him:

Ezekiel 2:3-8 (NIV) 3 He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen–for they are a rebellious house–they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Ezekiel Josiah Bloodworth.  Wow! That’s a pretty lofty calling!  Our hope is not our son Zeke will feel the weight of the pressure of his name, but that he’ll be inspired by it. I want him to know that he is part of a great story and a rich history. He belongs to an awesome “fraternity” of believers!

But wait… there’s more!  Did you know that if you are a Christian and you go to church, your “names” also hold great meaning?

Here are some other facts about the names we carry:

1. The name “Christian” is significant. Broken down, it literally means “Christ-In-You”. Carry that name proudly.  Be inspired by it.  I hope we can live up to our name.  Jesus went to great lengths to give us that name, in fact.  Here’s what the Bible says about it:

Ephesians 1:3-7 (NIV) 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…”

Do you understand the gravity of this passage?  He “chose” us.  This says that before the world was even created, we were part of God’s redemptive plan through his Son Jesus Christ.  He “adopted” us. This means we “receive an inheritance (heaven) we didn’t deserve”.  He created us to “holy & blameless”.  Sin gets in the way, but God made a way for us to join him in heaven.  He has “freely given” us grace. We didn’t earn it. He gave it to us!  When you receive Jesus Christ into your life and unite with him in baptism, you are a Christian. Now let’s live like it!

2. Furthermore, even the name “church” is significant.  We get the name “church” from the greek word “ekklesia” which means “Called Out Ones”.  Wow!  Does that change your perception of the church? Our mission? What Jesus calls us to do?  People have a tendency to think that the church is a little group of huddled people meeting in a shelter trying to escape the bombardments of the world.  But Jesus had other ideas. Look at these passages:

Matthew 11:12 (NIV) 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

Matthew 16:18 (NIV) 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Do you understand the magnitude of that message?  The gates of Hell.  These pictures show that the church is on the offensive. The church is on the attack. The church has Satan on the run!  He is holed up in his castle, huddled against our bombardment.  He is fighting a battle he cannot win, against an army he cannot repel, in a war he will ultimately lose.  His days are numbered and he knows it.

If you’re a Christian and you go to church. Carry your names proudly.  You are not weak. You are not timid. You belong to the fiercest fighting force in the world. You belong to a leader with limitless love. You belong to a name with no fear!

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV) 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What’s in your name?


The Family Meal

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Parenting
Tags: , , ,

Eating together as a family is a rarity.

As a parent of teens,  all our kids are into cell phones, facebook, sports, friends, school clubs, and our youth ministry. For them, it seems like there’s always homework to complete, something to do, someplace to go, someone to see, something to post, etc.  My parents tried to “protect & prioritize” our family time by having dinner together during the week.  My wife and I have continued that tradition as best we can.

Here are some of the things we’ve noticed as a result:

1. Helps us communicate face to face.  Our kids have mastered communicating through the technical revolution with cell phones, blogging and facebook, but unless we MAKE them–they’re losing the art of simply TALKING with each other. This forces us into the great, lost art of the face -to-face conversation.  So much of communicating is through tone-of-voice & body language.

2. We get to share in each other’s journey, joys, and sorrows.  It’s great to hear how EVERYBODY is doing.  What we’ve noticed is that sometimes, mom & dad will really be wrestling with something, but the kids aren’t up to speed on it.  Another time, two of our girls had really been talking about something they were having a hard time dealing with at school and the rest of us were in the dark.

3. Helps us make ‘big decisions’ together.  Sometimes, after dinner we’ll huddle up for a “family meeting”.  Recently, some of our family discussions have centered around whether or not to “foster-to-adopt”, to move back to Surprise, and more!  Like I said, these are major decisions and it’s great to sort through these together. Our goal is to have complete unity as a family.

4.  Keeps us “on purpose”.  We use this as a centerpiece of our day.  We all know that no matter what our day looks like, we can come home and get “caught up” during dinner, then disperse for homework or evening plans. It’s a great “break” after a long day of meetings, classwork, going to practice, etc.  Helps us recharge and refocus for the rest of the evening.

5. Creates “team” atmosphere.  We’ve started to have some fun with HOW we gather.  We usually make a menu and all of us take turns preparing dinner.  We tag-team the set-up and clean-up as well.  It gets all of us involved and working together.

6. Helps us to make priority for each other.  We make it a point to turn OFF our cell phones and TV during our family meal.  Previously, the TV would be on and we’d end up watching it or hearing it from the other room.  We try to show our kids that during this time, family comes first!

7. Great opportunity to pray together. We noticed that we seldom gather for a ‘family prayer’, and this helps keep that a priority. We try not to just pray for the meal, but we gather to pray for each other as well.  It really helps us to ‘mix up’ our meal time prayer and not just pray the same thing over and over.  It gets us all sharing and harnessing God’s power for each other.  Powerful!

The early church enjoyed this type of experience as well:

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV) 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Maybe they realized the value of community.  Maybe they enjoyed the experience of meeting & eating together.  Maybe they enjoyed seeing God work through their church family in a powerful way.  I hope God works through our family, too.

Obviously, we can’t do this EVERY night.  Our goal is 3-5 dinners together per week.  I hope our kids look forward to this as much as Christy and I do. I hope they continue this tradition.  I hope they prioritize talking and meeting together as a family.

What’s for dinner?