Monday, March 7, 2011

The Adoption of Lizzie Kersh

Friday was a spectacular day in the Kersh household. It was the day that our third child, Alizabeth Hope, officially became a Kersh. For those of you who don't know Alizabeth (Lizzie) was born on April 12, 2010. Eight minutes after her birth she was placed into our arms and that is where she has been ever since. Needless to say that was an incredible day. As it was when all our children were born. But there was something special that took place this past Friday, March 4th 2011. On that day we were privileged to see an amazing picture of the grace of our Lord Jesus.

At times I think it is hard for the follower of the Jesus to fully understand the significance of our adoption by God through His Son. Sure we know that we are His children. But what does that mean. On Friday when the judge signed the finale papers, he was saying this child now has a new name. She has a new birth certificate. She even has a new place of residence. She is now entitle to all the rights and privileges that come from being apart of your family. You see, this is the reality that every Christ follower has. The moment that Jesus died on the cross, the finale papers were signed. So when you and I trust in Christ alone for our salvation we were given a new name. We were given a new birth certificate because our name was written in the Lamb's book of life. We were given a new residence, heaven. We were given all the rights and privileges of being called children of God.

As great as Friday was and as great as our Lord is for doing what he has done in my family with the gift of three wonderful, beautiful children. The truth is, even if God had never done any of the things He has done, He would still be great! The truth is even if the unthinkable would have happened and Lizzie would have been removed from our home, for whatever reason, Our God would still be great! Even if one day, all that we have is striped away from us our God will still be great and be worthy of our praise. You see, we must praise God for what he has done, but even more importantly we must praise Him for who He is. He is God and He lives! Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because He lives I can face the future. And this life is worth living only because He lives. That should be a song.

So here is my challenge to you, take some time to praise the Lord. Not just for some of the things He has done, but also for Him just being God! One sure way to change your family tree is to place God in His rightful place in your life and your home. Speak justly of Him. Make much of Him when you lie down, when you rise up and as you walk by the way. Tell of His infinite wisdom and be determined to change your family tree.

Paul Kersh

Family Tree Ministries

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just a little more time!

Well it's been awhile since I have written anything, as you might have noticed. But in recent days I'm reminded of some very important things that I think are worth spending some time talking about.

Let's begin with "time". Time is something you never have enough of. It is something you wish you had back and it is something that sometimes doesn't go by fast enough. I can remember in high school wishing that time would hurry up. Now as a parent there never seems to be enough and I am always wanting more.

This week with another snow fall in Oklahoma, I had yet another snow day from work. The kids were wanting to go sledding and I had told them I would take them. However, it was bitterly cold and there were other things I could have done. But if I didn't go it would be one of those things that dad said he would do and didn't. So off to the frozen tundra we went. Besides the truck getting stuck and me almost breaking my foot we had a great time. We really did have a fun time! But when that event was over I thought to my self, "one day my children won't have time to go sledding or even want to." They are growing so fast and they need my time now.

That leads me to my next issue, death! Yes I know it's morbid and most people don't want to talk about death, but the Word of God tells us that we will all die so we might as well dive right in. Time is going so fast, it seems like yesterday I was 18 heading off to college with the world by the tail. Now I'm 39 wondering where the last 21 years went. Someday, and it will feel very soon I'm sure, I will be in my later years of life wondering where the last 50 years have gone. I will be looking death right in the face and probably longing for it to come. So this leads me to my question. Who do you want around you when you are lying on your death bed? Dad, will all your customers or clients or work friends be there as you enter into eternity? Probably not. Mom, are all your social clubs and charity work friends going to be there? Probably not. Pastor, will all the people that you spent countless hours preaching to and serving to going to be there? I doubt it. But it will be the ones you know best and love the most. Your children and grandchildren. The ones that carry your name that live out your character. The ones that carry on your legacy. Those are the ones that will be there when you die. Those are the ones we need to invest in now.

This takes me to my finale thought for today. Grandparents! Some of the most significant people in my life were my grandparents and particularly my grandfathers. They were significant and meaningful to me because of a couple different reasons. One because of their character! They were stand up men who loved the Lord and followed after His high standards. They spent their entire lives trying to be fully devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second reason they were significant to me is because they invested in me. They took time to speak truth into my life and because they had spent time with me they had earned the right to speak truth into my life. Here's the thing, if you as a grandparent don't take time to spend with your grandchildren you don't earn the right to guide them through tough or challenging times in their lives. If those grandchildren don't see you as wanting to invest in them they are not going to listen when they need to be listening. And all it takes is a little time! Once again we are back around to "time".

If you are a parent take time to be dad or mom! Go sledding! Have a tea party! Play dress up! At the end of the day those children are the ones that are going to be there as you take the journey into the sunset of your life (thank you Ronald Reagan for that line).

If you are a grandparent, take time to earn your right to speak truth into the lives of your grandchildren. They will love you for it more than you could ever imagine.

These are some ways you can change your family tree. Don't be afraid to give it a shot if you want to leave a legacy that last for generations.

Paul Kersh

Family Tree Ministries

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lessons Learned from Wrigley Field

I was recently in Chicago on business. While I was there I had the chance to take in a Chicago Cubs game. I had always wanted to see a game at Wrigley Field, and I must say it was the highlight of the trip. I really enjoyed the game and the surroundings. But what was most interesting about my visit to Wrigley were the people. I saw some of the most interesting people and I could not help but wonder about their story. What were their lives like? What did they do for a living? Did they have families?

There was one couple that sat in front of me at the game. They were an older couple who had been life long Cub fans. You could see it in their eyes, you could hear it in their voices, they loved the Cubbies. What was interesting about them was their passion and how everyone else related to them. You see, they were known for being Cubs fans. Every attendant that walked by, every beer and peanut salesmen, even the president of the Cubs stopped and said a word of encouragement to this couple. It seemed that the entire Cubs organization knew this couple and they made sure they said something to them through out the course of the game. They were known as the Cubs number one fan, and they enjoyed it.

That got me thinking, what am I known for? When people see me what do they think? Do I mean anything to anybody? When my life is done, what will people say about me? These are the questions that run through my mind at a Cubs game. Strange I know, but you just have to take this little trip with me.

There are a lot of things I think I'm passionate about. I love to hunt. Anybody that truly knows me knows that I would just as soon be in the deer woods on a fall day than anywhere else in the world. People who know me also know that I have been a Oklahoma Sooner fan since I could say Boomer Sooner! People who know me also know I love to preach! Standing in front of the God's church and proclaiming God's Word is an incredible privilege and honor. One that I don't deserve to get to do. But thank you Lord for allowing me that joy. But above all those things, the one thing I hope people know me for is loving my family.

This is the one thing that God has called all of us to do. We are to love our families and to have great passion for them. It was the family that God created first before the church. It was the family that was God's initial tool for sharing the Gospel. It was the family that Satan attacked because he knew it was cherished by God. And though many things have changed since that time, one thing has not and that is that God still cherishes the family and Satan is still trying to attack it.

That is why it is so important that we become moms and dads known for loving our families. We are the one that God has put in place to defend our families from the evil one. We are the ones that have the responsibility to train up our children and grandchildren in the things of God and to teach them to have a passion for Him. But for any of that to happen we have to be known as having a passion for Him ourselves. The greatest thing that could ever be said of you when this life is over is that you were a defender of your home and that you loved your family.

The couple at the Cubs game were known for being fans. What are we known for? If we want to change our family tree than we better be known as defenders of our home, lovers of our families and followers of our God. This is the call we all must surrender to or we risk everything God has ever given us.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's More than a Memory!

I imagine that most of us could look back and recall certain moments in life that have meant a great deal to us. Those memories help shape who we are today. They help mold us both for the positive and the negative. We all can recall times that had a profound effect on our soul. Something that happened we wished had never happened. Or we have had those moments we wish we could relive over and over again.

This weekend, I hope, was one of those profound times that will become more than just a memory to my eight year old son. This past weekend was a weekend that we had marked off on our calendars to get ready for the hunting season. We went to the place we hunt and cleared trails, hung tree stands, mowed down brush, and a host of other things that needed to be done before we could hunt. It was a full two days of hard preparation. But the great thing about it was that it was fun! There were five of us, all working together and laughing the entire time. It was a time for men to be men. It was a time for boys to be with their fathers.

It's these kinds of weekends that change a family tree. Why? Because you are creating more than a memory. You are creating a turning point! Turning points are when you receive more responsibility. Turning points are when you see the world is not all about you. Turning points are when you see that preparation, diligence, and hard work are required to be successful! I think for fathers to change the path of their family, to change their family tree, we must create turning points! Memories are great! We must create memories, but we must not forget to teach and instruct when those turning points come around.

This fall when hunting season begins, my son and I will go back to those hunting spots we cleared. We will spend time remembering what had to be done so we could have this memory together. We will talk about how preparation is important and hard work is important. We will remember what we did and why we did it. But we will also look and see why Christ did what He did and why it was important to us. We will see the preparation He went through to create a turning point in our lives. That time when we laid all that we have at His feet and claim Him as Savior.

Mom and dad, let me encourage you share your turning point to your children. Share with them that moment you asked Christ to be your Savior. If your children have not trusted Christ as Lord, help them see why this turning point was and is so important you . You see, in the big picture of life the greatest memory your children could ever have is a memory of a godly husband/father and a godly wife/mother loving and leading their family to Christ. This is the one memory that could forever change your family tree. Don't be afraid to embrace this turning point! Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is that a Anaconda?

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to spend three days with my son on a camping trip. We went to a father/son archery camp. There was a lot about archery, but more about hunting in general. The camp was fun, learned a little, but more importantly had a blast with my son.

One night on our way back to our camp site we were following a trail through the woods when we came across a old, long, rotten tree branch that had snap off the tree and was was lying across our trail partially covered up with leaves and dirt. It had obviously been there a long time. I could tell it was a tree branch but to a nine year old from a distance, it had a very ominous look to it. So as we approached my son asked me, "What's that on our trail?" I stopped and looked and said, "I don't know, it looks like a anaconda!" Immediately my son shot back, "no it isn't dad! There are no anacondas here." We both laughed and went on about our way going to our campsite. That's when it happened! Walking along the trail my son then asked, "Dad, there aren't' any anacondas here, right?" I reassured him that I was only kidding and there were no anacondas in Oklahoma.

You see I realized again how much our children hang on every word we, their parents, say! My son had studied other parts of the world along with North America. He knew that there were no anacondas in North America. He knew that they lived in South America. Yet, even though he had that knowledge when his dad even hinted that their might possibly be a giant South American snake in central Oklahoma, he was ready to believe it. Our children so want to hear from mom and dad that they will even believe the unbelievable if we say it's true.

On that walk through the woods I learned that I have tremendous power over my children. I can build them up with words of encouragement. I can fan the flames of great dreams they have to one day do great things. I can speak truth into their lives from the good news of God's Word. I can share with them the good news of the Gospel and how it will change their lives. Or, I can completely destroy them with one harsh word, one false statement, one attack on their dreams. I have the power to be a dream killer or a world changer in the lives of my children.

Mom and dad, the next time one of your children tell you they are going to be the next great baseball player or the next great ballerina, be quick to encourage instead of squashing their dream. The next time your child says lets play dress up tea party. Tell them your going to get your best suit on and you can't wait for the party. The next time your teenager says I don't feel right doing the things all the other teenagers are doing, but how do I say "no"? You take them to the Word of God and encourage them with the hope and the instruction from Proverbs.

These are the days that the Lord has given us with our children. They are few and they are fleeting. So we must act now! We must take full advantage of every second to speak words that will teach, encourage and build up. We must take every opportunity to change the lives of our children so that their family tree will be forever changed.

So the next time you're out at the mall with your child, or taking a walk through the neighborhood with your son or you're picking your daughter up from ballet and you see a anaconda, remember that anaconda might just change your family tree.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just Do It!

The unofficial end to the summer came this week with Labor day. And I for one am kinda glad it came. I love Fall! The cooler temps, the start of football, the change of colors, Fall is just a good time of year.

It seems that the Fall is a great time to start fresh. So with that in mind, I want to encourage you to start something fresh in your families. For example, maybe worship is something that you have done but only in the confines of the church building. Start fresh this Fall by doing family worship in your home. Dad you take the lead and spend a little time each night reading the Bible together. Spend time praying together. It doesn't' have to be complicated. It can be simple and short, especially if you are new to this. But in the words of our friends at Nike, "Just Do It!"

There are all kinds of ways that a family can start fresh. For instance, maybe it has never been a habit to tuck your kids into bed each night. Try it! Tuck them and pray for them each one individually. It's amazing what some of those nights will become. Some nights all you may get to do is tuck and pray. But other nights you may get to hear what they struggled with that day. Or you may get to hear the successes they had that day. One thing I know, your children for the rest of their lives will remember how dad or mom each night set on the edge of their bed and prayed for them.

Another way that a family can start fresh for the Fall is to start talking about spiritual things. If your life is like mine you get so busy with all the day to day stuff that sometimes simply acknowledging what God did today gets left behind. It becomes an after thought instead of the first fruits of our lips. Take sometime around the dinner table or in the car to talk about spiritual things. They don't have to be deep theological things. Just spend some time dwelling on God and what He has done. Look at his creation and give Him credit. Or tell a story about a time when you saw God's faithfulness in your life. Recount your family's spiritual heritage. Or if your family doesn't' have one, talk about how God is beginning something new with your family. With so much "junk" from the world having a high position in our lives, it is important that we take time to "Story about our Savior". Put Him where He belongs in our lives.

Finally, I think one of the best ways that we can start fresh is with our own personal spiritual growth. Make studying God's Word a priority. I have found that my greatest days of leading my family spiritually is when my own spiritual growth is in an upswing. The contrary is true as well. When I am dry and walking in a desert spiritually my family suffers.

There are all kinds of ways that you and your family can start fresh during this new season. So don't worry about what you have not done in the past. The past is past! But, look for ways that you can start again. Don't be afraid that your family is going to say, "but we have never done that before. Why are we doing it now?" Just tell them you are changing their family tree.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, August 9, 2010

How bout them Cowboys!

Emitt Smith is my new favorite sports figure! If you caught his 24 minute speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction you know what I mean. I have always been a fan of Mr. Smith. Especially as a player. I can remember watching him run through the NY Giants with only one working shoulder. I can remember watching him break the all time rushing record when he surpassed Walter Payton (whom I also loved). I especially remember watching Mr. Smith along with all the other Dallas Cowboys win three Super Bowls. Those where good days for Cowboy fans.

Saturday night however, when I saw Mr. Smith give his speech I was more than impressed. Not because he spoke for 24 minutes without any notes or teleprompter. Not because he spoke so eloquently. But because on the surface it appears he cares about leaving a legacy. Toward the end of his speech he told of how he felt when he got the call that he was going into the Hall of Fame. He spoke about how he told his father and his son that he would not be going into the Hall of Fame alone, but that he would be carrying all of them with him because they all have the same name, "Emitt". He told them that they would forever be apart of the history and greatness of Football.

For a guy who cares about leaving a legacy, this was right up my alley. I love it when a guy realizes that what he can do now will affect what people will remember of him when he is gone. In essence this is the story of the gospel.

Jesus did something that causes us to remember him even though He is no longer physically here with us. He made a choice to give His life so that you and I might find forgiveness, love, grace, and mercy. His choice to die for the sin of mankind is a legacy that lives on today. He still forgives sin and He still offers love, grace and mercy. This is the kind of legacy that can change a life and a family.

Dad, we must remember that we do not walk in this world alone but we have precious gifts given to us by God who carry our name. They are looking to see what kind of legacy we are going to leave them. They are watching to see what they have to live up to. They are in desperate need of someone showing them right from wrong. They are watching to see how you love a family. They are waiting to see who will show them forgiveness, love, grace and mercy. These are the kind of things that will determine our legacy. These are the kind of things that will change our families. We must not be afraid to change our family tree so that we are leaving the right kind of legacy.

E.J. Smith may not remember every run or every touchdown his father made. He may not remember the heroics he showed on the football field. But you can bet E.J. Smith will remember that his daddy stood on the world's stage and told everyone that was listening how much he loves his family. He will remember his daddy humbling crying as he thanked those that had helped him along the way. He will remember that his daddy is Emitt Smith and that is all that matters.

Thank you Mr. Smith for changing your family tree.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree.

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries