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

Monday, August 2, 2010

Adoption! WOW!

This weekend my wife and I had a great Sunday afternoon with some relatively new friends, but they quickly have become really good friends. We spent the afternoon at a baseball game. We watched our kids, who are close to the same age, play together. We talked more than we watched the game. We drank lots of water since it was 103 outside. It was a great day! We have a lot of things in common with this family so we therefore have many natural connections. Thy have a young daughter, we have a young daughter. They have a young son, we have a young son. They are in the process of adopting a baby girl. We have adopted a baby girl. So you can imagine what much of our conversation was about. Adoption!

All the talk about adoption only fueled my fire for how much God loves you and me! You know adoption is a great thing. God commands us to take care of the orphans. But, adoption is hard! The whole process is unnatural. Adoption was certainly not the best most perfect way. It was not what God had intended. Because it is a result of a fallen world! However, adoption is the best way we have to see God's true love in action. There are children all over our world who need a family. They need someone to love them and care for them as if they were their own. They need someone to look beyond their situation and see that they still need love and acceptance. And there are families who need these children. There are families all over this world who are longing to share their home and love with one who needs it. These families don't care about the situation, they simply want to love the precious gifts that God has created.

More than two thousand years ago God saw fit to send One who would love us beyond our situation. God paid the price for us because He knew we could not do it for ourselves. He knew we needed someone to love us and care for us and offer us a home. We were adopted by the King. Given all the rights and benefits of the King. We became apart of His family. We have been adopted into a family by the grace and love of our Heavenly Father.

Talk about changing your family tree! What an amazing thought! Once we were lost but now we are found. Once we were blind but now we see! We were so far away from God with no hope of ever being able to reach Him. But Jesus came down giving up Heaven to live as a man, perfect and sinless, so that He might die a sinless death and pay our penalty for our sin. Therefore making a way for us to reach Him when He called our name. The Lord Jesus Christ changed the family tree for all those that obediently responded to His calling. Adoption is truly an amazing thing.

Mom and dad, if you want to change your family tree share with your children your adoption story. Adoption is a part of all our lives. Everyone of us that have placed our lives in the hands of Jesus have adoption as a part of our lives. So why would we not share it. Remember, you were lost then you were found. Who were you found by? Why did He find you? What is your role now as a member of this special family? All these question will plant a seed so that when God the Father calls the name of your children they will be ready to answer.

Until God calls their name, pray! Pray like you never have! Pray that God will use you to show what it means to be a adopted son or daughter of the King. Pray that God will use you to change your family tree so that one day your entire family will be praising our Lord together in His Heaven. Don't forget that adoption is a part of all our stories, and we have a responsibility to share it and embrace it so that our families can be changed forever.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

To our friends, we love you and are praying for you as you follow God's call for your family. What a wonderful thing that God is doing in your family. How cool that He is giving you an opportunity to change the family tree of this new little one as well as your own. Embrace every chance that God gives you to praise Him and glorify Him. That is our chief end, to glorify Him forever. Now you will get to do it with this new precious gift. God bless you and your family.

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back in the day!

This week is my 20 year High School reunion! It is hard to believe it has been 20 years since I graduated, but as the old saying goes, "time marches on." For that last several months I have been getting emails upon email reminding me that this date was coming. I was told to mark it on my calendar. I was told to save the date. I was even told don't be the only one to miss out on your 20 year reunion. All that said, I'm not going! I know, your thinking how could you miss your reunion? The truth is I don't want to spend the money to go. These things have gotten so expensive that I decided I could spend my money better than at a reunion. I have to admit it would be fun to see some old friends and relive some old memories.

But the more I thought about reliving some old memories the more I realized that there is not much I did back in the late 80's that really means a whole lot to me now. Not that I didn't have fun or have good friends, but that was then and this is now. It is only what I do now makes a difference in the Kingdom. So I began to think about why we try to invest so much energy into the past when really our energy must be invested into the now so that it matters in the future.

Lately I have started asking my self what will my family look like in 20, 50, 100 years. Will what I have done now continue to make a difference in 100 years? You see, I believe that is where our focus should be. If I am doing what the Lord God has commanded me than I will have a generational vision. For most of us that is a hard concept to wrap our minds around, because it is always easier to look back than it is to look forward. And often times our pride keeps us from thinking about anyone else than ourselves. Truth be told that's what killing the family in the United States! We are more concerned about "me" than we are about "Him"! So we have to get back to leading our families so that when we are dead and gone the truths we have taught them will live on from generation to generation. You see, that is how you change your family tree.

It is an amazing thought to think that what we do now will impact generations 200 years from now. But it's true! If you are passionate about the things of God, teaching truths to your children, not settling for sin but loving the Lord God will all your heart, soul and mind then we can pass that down to the generations that follow. But it takes courage, passion, trust and obedience to bring about blessings in future generations of your family.

My dad use to tell me back when I was in high school, "remember who you are and whose you are". Those words have stuck with me. I want to remember that I'm a Kersh. I want to give the Kersh name a good name. But even more important than that I want to remember whose I am. I'm a child of the King. I more than anything want to give Him a good name. But I also want the generations of Kersh's to come to know that I worked to give God a good name and I want them to give Him a good name. My prayer is that God will burden you with that same passion for changing your family tree.

One more thing, developing a family vision is a new concept for most of us. So don't become frustrated or overwhelmed. Take your time and trust the Lord. He will give you what you need and encourage you along the way. Dads and moms, sit down together and plan your work and work your plan. Tell your family what you want to see happen their lives. Then be quick to never steal the glory from our heavenly Father. Remember it takes courage to change your family tree. So don't be afraid! Just trust and obey for there's no other way!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play!

There are a few things I have learned in my 38 years on this planet. 1. There are two kinds of people, those who like to relax on vacation with a good book by the pool or on the beach. Then there are those who have to see the worlds biggest ball of yarn in Timbuktu along with the jail that once held some masked gunman from some wild west town. As you might guess, not my idea of a vacation. 2. I have learned that bacon goes with anything! Bacon is a breakfast food, a lunch food and a dinner food. It is good with eggs, on a burger, wrapped on chicken and recently I discovered it was good on cupcakes. Yes, cupcakes! Go figure! So it must be true that bacon is a national treasure.

Finally, I have learned that life is very much like a game of baseball. In a game of baseball you play nine innings. Sometimes you are granted extra innings, but eventually the game will come to an end. So it is with life. You only have so long to accomplish your goals. Sometimes you may feel that you have been given extra time, but the truth is time keeps moving and eventually you run out.

In baseball you are surrounded by a team. Each team member has a different role. Only one person can do their job. A team can only have one pitcher on the field at one time. Each player must know their role if they are going to be successful. So it is in life. For a family to be successful they must know their roles. There can only be one leader of the family, says God's holy Word, that's the father. There can only be one help mate, that's the mother. Each member of the family has to know the game plan and work to that end.

In baseball there are those times when things are not going as they should so you have to make a change. Bring in a new pitcher, change the batting order, move men around in the field or take a risk on the base paths to generate some runs. So it is in the family. If something is not working like it should then we need to evaluate what we are doing and see if we need to make some changes. We must not be afraid to change. If we are, than we are destined to remain in the cellar and never move up in the standings. Without making changes during the course of the game you will never reach the championship. The apostle Paul said, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." We are called to press on, to make the changes necessary that will enable us to keep on going. Changing what we do so that we take advantage of the time we have left with our families. Changing what we do so that our children are more advanced in their spiritual walk than we were at their age. Not be satisfied with the status quo, but take some risk to advance the runners and score more runs so that the Kingdom of God might be advanced. In other words, if God is calling you to change what you do, do it! If He is asking you to do something that might be scary or uncomfortable, remember that He is the manager! He is in control and He knows what is best. He is not going to tell you to round third base and head for home if He doesn't already know the outcome.

If we are going to change our family tree, we must get in the game. Take the Word of God as your game plan. Search it out and see how God would use you to change your family so that He might be glorified.

I know there are those time when it is our turn to bat and going to the plate seems scary. Maybe God has laid it on your heart that you are to home school! Maybe He is calling you to start a business! Maybe He is calling you to run for office! Maybe He is telling you to stop working so much and invest in your family! Whatever it maybe, it's your turn to bat! What are you going to do? Turn and run back to the bench. Or are you going to walk confidently to the plate, point at the pitcher and say "give me your best pitch." You will never hit a home run if never get up to bat!

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's Hard to Eat Jello with a Fork!

It has been a few weeks since my last post. I have been gone on a mission trip to Brazil. We saw God do some great things on our trip. It was amazing to see Him show up and show out. It truly was a great trip.

There were several things I learned while away. There were also some things God reminded me of, for instance, it's hard to eat jello with a fork. I know, I know, you are asking why were you eating Jello? Good question. But the truth of the matter is I was eating jello and I have no good excuse. They had no spoons so I was using my fork. Here is what I learned while trying to eat jello with a fork. It can be done but it is not the best way of doing it.

Isn't that the way we live a lot of the time. We are doing things that are not necessarily wrong, but it just may not be the best way of doing things or the best that God has for you.

I know many good parents who are raising their children the way their parents raised them. Now, there may not be anything wrong with the way they are raising their children it just may not be the best way that God has for them.

The same is true with many churches. How churches do church may not be bad, but it may not be the best. So here in lies our problem. How do we know God's best? We must go back to the Word of God and see what He has to say about what we are doing. If that means church, then Pastors you need to look and see if what is happening in your church matches up to what the Word has to say. If it doesn't, get rid of it. I know sometimes it's hard to get rid of that "sacred cow" but it must be done if you want the best.

Parents, if you want to raise extraordinaire kids instead of ordinary kids than you must change your family tree. Don't go do the same thing your parents did even if it is good if it doesn't' match up to God's best.

So starting today I've decided that my children should get God's best. That must start with me. I have to invest in them. I have to put my selfishness aside. I have to serve them Jesus. I have to let them see Jesus in me. I have to make God's Word as important to me as any sports event or hunting trip or worldly possession I might have. Falling in love with Jesus with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind must be the most important thing in my life. If I do that I won't be eating jello with a fork, but I will be washing the feet of my children and serving them the creator and Savior of the world. And that is the best thing I could give them.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree. So stop eating jello with a fork!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, June 21, 2010

Family Worship? Does it Matter?

Family devotions! For some reason those two words often strike fear into the heart of every father and or mother. And I think their fear is on multiple levels. Fear that you won't have the right things to say. Fear that you don't know enough about the bible. Fear that your children will be bored. And I think more often times than not it's not that we are afraid as much as we just don't know what to do or we simply forget and time slips away from us.

This past week I had a conversation with my kids one night while my wife was working a few hours at the hospital. We discussed what we can do to make our time in family worship beneficial to all involved. I asked them what I could do so that they would be able to engage in this thing called family worship. I received various answers. My son said he could draw a picture of whatever we were talking about from the Bible. My daughter, the quiet one, didn't say a whole lot but what she did say was profound. She simply said,"it's important that we do it!"

There in lies our difficulty. I think we have forgotten that family worship is important. I know there are times I forget. There are those times that life happens, time goes by fast and I forget. That tells me that I have not given the importance due to family worship that it deserves. If Jesus is truly the Bread of Life, and we always find time for breakfast, lunch and dinner and probably a snack in between. Than why wouldn't we find time for the nourishment of scripture and worship of our Lord. Ultimately it comes down to letting our call to lead our families become to casual.

So in an effort to refocus on the importance of family worship I thought I would take my wife's advice and wright a "how to" for family worship. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list but more of away to get started and keep it started. But remember, it really comes down to us not being so casual in our calling but instead embracing the importance of it. So her it goes!

Let's start with Sunday: Family worship doesn't have to be a class in theology. It's about worship! So start off the week by making sure you are with the body of Christ. There is something good and refreshing when you are with the body. However, for worship to be family worship on Sundays you have to do it together. So mom and dad, resist the urge to send the little one off so you can pay attention to the sermon or the songs. Worship is a family thing and must be the course you set your children on.

Monday: Pick a book of the bible and read some from it! It doesn't always have to be "kids story". Our children are smarter than we give them credit for, so don't underestimate what they can glean from the scripture. Sing a song. A hymn or one of those new fangled praise songs will work great! Pray! Let each member of the family pray. Help them pray. Model prayer for them.

Tuesday: Pray for the church! Pick out some people from you local body to pray for. Then write a note to that person telling them you are praying for them this week. Read a passage of scripture that deals with the church.

Wed: Read another passage from the book of the bible you picked out on Monday. Ask questions. Let the little ones draw pictures of what you read. Sing!

Thursday: Pray for each member of the family! Have each member of the family pray for one another. Read a passage that deals with family.

Friday: Read about a faithful servant of God. Read through a book or find information on line about some of the precious men and women of God that served Him with their whole life. Missionaries, Apostles, preachers, etc. All have stores that should be passed on about God's faithfulness. Then encourage your family to have a legacy that will live on.

Saturday: Pray for the service to come! Ask God to prepare your heart and the heart of your family for worship.

These are just some of the ways you can engage your family in worship. Again, this is not exhaustive and there is always room for expansion. There are no hard and fast rules. Only that it is a part of your life so that your family can see the value in growing and leading their families some day to Christ.

You want to change your family tree? Try doing family worship!

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't Be A Coward!

Father's Day is coming up this Sunday so I thought I would take a few moments and say thank you! Thank you to all the fathers who take the time to invest in the lives of their children. So many times we hear on the TV reports and in the Newspaper about the dead beat dads out there. And unfortunately it seems there are more dads out there that fit into this category than those that are concerned about the raising up of warriors for the Kingdom of God. So I think it is important that we say thank you to those dad's that love their children and the wives more than themselves. I also thank we need to say thank you for the lessons we have learned from our fathers.

Over the years I have learned many things from my father. I've learned the importance of hard work and working until the job is complete. I have learned that if you want to get better at something, hang out with people that do that thing better than you. I've learned that a good name is important, so carry your name well. I've learned that leadership is not entitled but you must earn the right to be called a leader. I've learned that it is OK to show affection to your spouse in public. I've learned that family vacations are important. I could continue going on telling you some of the things I have learned, but let me tell you one thing I have learned that I think is more important than all the rest. My father has taught me that there are no cowards in heaven!

Over the years I have seen my father stand up in the face of opposition because it was the right thing to do. I have seen him stand toe to toe with the enemies of God as he was giving someone the opportunity to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. I have seen him go through battles with people that called themselves Christians but yet did not demonstrate any fruit of being Christians. It's these kind of things that have taught me there are no cowards in heaven only people that stood up in the face of the opposition and gave their lives for the cause of Christ.

As we approach Father's Day this Sunday let me encourage all the dads to remember there are no cowards in heaven! Stand for the right things! Let your family know that there is nothing more important to you than they are. Protect them from the evil of this world. Guard them from the impurity that exists to steal their hearts. Show affection to your family with many hugs and kisses (even in public)! Teach them what it means to love the Lord with their whole heart.

I know that typically Father's Day is a day when things are done for the dad or gifts are given to the dad. But this year dad, why don't you flip the switch on your family and do something for them. Tell them how much you love them and how grateful you are for them. Tell them that you will never be accused of being a coward because you love them to much and want to spend eternity with them. Remember there are no cowards in heaven, only those that truly understood what true love is.

Change your family tree dad, by not being a coward! Stand for what is right not what is popular. It seems the popular things to do is to be a dead beat. I challenge you to be a trouble maker and do the unpopular thing. Instead, be the hero! Someday your family will thank you for it when you all lay your crowns down at the feet of Jesus!

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Don't Underestimate!

Why is it every time we talk to our children about spiritual things we immediately think they will never understand what we just said? I am specifically talking about our younger children. We assume a lot about our children that simply isn't true. I think this is do to the fact that we underestimate what the Holy Spirit can teach them and quite frankly, we don't give our kiddos enough credit. For example, why do we think that when we go to church our children should go to some other place to worship called Children's Church? Who's bright idea was this? At this point we need to be honest with ourselves and realize that when you put 20 plus kids in a room with a couple of adults, it doesn't take long to see those adults have no chance and the children are the ones missing out. They miss out on hearing the Word because they are to involved with the other children around them. They miss out on being with their parents and learning how to worship. So why do we try to justify "children's church" by saying things like, "in children's church the lessons are more age appropriate." Again we are not giving them enough credit and, if I'm being honest, it is easier as a parent to abdicate our God given role as disciple maker to someone else.

There in lies our problem! We assume that our children could learn better from someone else. We assume a paid children's minister or pastor or youth minister knows better than us when it come to disciplining our children when the truth is no one knows your children better than you. We also underestimate how powerful it is to have our children with us. You see, Christ did not give us these blessing, in case you didn't know that's our children, to have someone else receive the joy of teaching them the truths of God's Word. He gave that joy and responsibility to you and to me. The family was God's initial tool of evangelism. God gave you and me the opportunity to let our children see Christ in us. Therefore, opening the door for God to save them through His Son, Jesus.

Which leads me to one final point. Don't underestimate the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can take the hardest most difficult concepts and bring them into the world of a child so that they can understand. The Holy Spirit has the ability to open the eyes of a child so that they can even know things better than us. But we as their parents have to put them in places that will give the Holy Spirit a chance to work. So if we as a family are not in worship together, how are we going to grow together. If we as a family are not involved in worship at home, how are we going to have those time when we learn sound teaching and instruction from God's Word together. How are we going to be able to teach to our children how an adult is to act in a corporate worship setting if we are not teaching it at home. How are we going to give the Holy Spirit a chance to call our children if we are not planting the Word in their hearts. All these things are a part of training up a child in the way they should go.

If you truly want to change your family tree, don't underestimate the power you have to bring little ones to Jesus. You can't do the saving but you sure can bring them to the throne! And you can stop underestimating what the Spirit can do.

The greatest privilege we have as parents is to see our children come to saving knowledge of Jesus the Christ. It is our responsibility to serve them Jesus.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

This week my wife Angela and I will celebrate our 16Th wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that we have been married that long even harder to believe that we have been together for more than 20 years. We were High school sweethearts, College sweethearts, young adulthood sweethearts and now parenting sweethearts. God has blessed us tremendously! I am so thankful that God has allowed Angela to be a part of my life. In fact, I have been with her longer than I have been without her and that is truly a blessing.

16 years ago we did not know all that God had in store for us. We had no idea that God would lead us down so many different paths. All of which have been for our good! We also had no idea that we would be the parents of 3 wonderful children. But that is what God did, and again it is for our good. But, it is also for His glory!

So many times we see things go on in our lives and we do one of two things. If it is a good thing that has happened we say, "Thank you Lord!" If it is a bad thing sometimes we say, " why me Lord!" But what I think we fail to say is, "It is for your glory Lord!" Because it is all truly about Him! His glory, His fame, His name, His will, His direction, His grace, His mercy, His love! It is all about Him. So as I look at my life this far can I say it has all been about Him. Unfortunately not! I wish I could say that all I have ever done was done with Jesus in mind. But that would be a lie. In fact, the truth is because I am a fallen individual in constant need of a Savior very rarely do I do things with only Jesus in mind. Most of the time I do things we me in mind. And I would bet I am not alone in my dealings. I am like many of you in that I wish I would do more for His glory and not my own.

Which leads me back to 16 years ago! Because 16 years ago when my beautiful fiance' said yes and became my wife that was something God did to bring glory to Himself by starting a family that would seek to glorify Him. I must say we have not always been successful in our desire to glorify Him, but we are trying. And that is all He asks us to do. Keep trying! Keep trying to glorify Him with our words, our actions, our thoughts. Keep trying to glorify Him with our marriages, with the training of our children, with our work. This is the job of the Christ follower!

The path that we must take to change our family tree is to seek to glorify Him! If we are doing everything as unto the Lord, it will change what we do and how we do it. For most people in society today, they are satisfied with the status quo. "If it was good enough for me when I was growing up, it will be good enough for my kids." Really! I know my parents did a great job of teaching me and training me, but I think they would even say they want better for their grandchildren than what they gave their children. And so do I! I want them to Love the Lord God with all their heart, soul and mind. With all that is in them I want them to praise Him. During the good and the bad, because He deserves to be glorified. For that to happen I have to change my family tree. I have to decide to live like no one else! I have to decide to glorify the Lord because He will be glorified!

Moms and dads let's decide today that the status quo is not alright for our children. Challenge them to be more for the Lord than we are. Encourage them to love the unlovable as Christ did! Teach them of the great faithfulness of our God and that He is a jealous God who longs for us to love Him with our whole heart, soul and mind. Let's change our family trees together for His glory! Deut. 6: 1-9 gives us clear instruction on how to change your family tree. So be couragous and act!

Finally, I would like to say to my wife, Angela thank you for saying "I will" 16 years ago! Thank you for encouraging me to not settle for status quo! Thank you for joining with me to change our family tree! He is worthy and worthy to be praised! When I look at you, Angela, I am filled with praise for what He has done! Happy Anniversary!

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Playoffs or Playtime?

Over the last several weeks it has been pretty exciting in the state of Oklahoma when it comes to NBA basketball. Our family really got into the playoffs with the OKC Thunder doing so well and taking the Lakers to the limit. But I also noticed, I guess I should be honest, my wife noticed that even though the Thunder were out of the playoffs our TV seemed to be on more than ever watching all the other games. Now, I'm not saying you should not watch the playoffs. But, I am saying we must be careful what we watch when watching the playoffs. Have you seen some of the commercials that THEY show on TV. My eight year old son should not have to be subject to watching a Victoria Secrets commercial while trying to watch his favorite players do their thing.

Have you ever stopped and thought about who the THEY are that are streaming these things into your home. Let me tell you who THEY are. THEY are those forces out there that do not care about the purity of your heart or your families heart. THEY are the people that are only concerned with making as much money as possible regardless of what it does to your family. THEY are the time stealer's that persuade you into wasting hours in front of an idiot box instead of investing time into the lives of your family. Oh sure, THEY try to tell you that what THEY have to offer is worth your time and concentration. But the truth is the time we waste on the TV is time we can never get back. It is time wasted that you will wish you had when your children are grown and out of the house. It is time you will wish you had when your bride of 50 years is dying in bed and you are praying you could take her place. It is time you wish you had back so your could pass down truth and wisdom to your children so that their heart will remain strong when faced with temptation.

Again, I'm not saying you can't enjoy some time in front of the TV with a good movie or a romantic story but for too many of us the TV has become an idol. And whether we want to admit it or not it has become a god that has dominated our lives.

So let me offer you a suggestion. Change your family tree! Be the first of your family to say, "NO MORE! No more am I going to allow the television to dominate my life or my families life!" For most of the people from my generation (I'm 38 years old) the TV has been a major player in our lives and in our parents lives. So it is a major step to say, "I am going to make a change!" But that is exactly what we must do. Particularly, fathers must be the defender of their realm. Guys, we have to be the change initiator in our families. It is our job. It's our role as leader of the home.

I want to thank my wife, for reminding me how we must protect the heart of our children. I want to thank her for reminding me that if we are going to change our family tree it must start with me. I want to thank her for encouraging me to not be afraid. By the way ladies, this is what a wife does.

So, dads put the remote down and instead of watching basketball pick up a basketball and let your son have a new hero! Dad, show your daughter how a man is to treat a lady by taking her on a date instead of she having to try to figure it out by what she sees on TV. This is changing your family tree.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, May 17, 2010

Movie Night

It was Friday night and it had been a long week so all I really wanted to do was stay home and relax for a little while. So you know what that means, "MOVIE NIGHT!" Have you ever noticed we try to give our need for relaxation a special name so that way we don't feel so guilty for needing it. Hence, movie night was born. On a side note, don't feel guilty for needing some down time. Just don't forget that down town doesn't always mean alone time. But that's another story for another blog.

So this past Friday night was officially dubbed "movie night". So after Ol'dad found a couple of movies at the Red Box. A great invention I might add. I pick them up on my way home from work, along with some very large boxes of candy from the local store. I also brought with me a projector I borrowed from work. This would be the highlight of movie night. Because a 10' x 12' screen on your living room wall is always a hit no matter how you slice it.

After the appropriate pizza had been ordered, delivered and promptly consumed we settle in for a night of excitement, adventure and even a few tears. Movie night was a success! We had had a great time relaxing together. Or at least that's what I thought. I had thought that was all we were doing was relaxing, but it turns out we were doing much more than that. I didn't know the full extent of movie night until two days later as I was tucking my son into bed. He said to me, "Dad, that was really fun watching the movie so big on our wall." I said, " I know, we will have to do it again sometime." That's when he flipped the switch on me. He said, "What I liked most was sitting on the couch with you." Simple words but powerful meaning!

We had set on the couch together lots of times. But those times were not always doing something he wanted to do or watching something he wanted to watch. This time we were doing something together. Still relaxing, still having some down time, but not alone. We were together. And we were touching! As parents we must never forget that our kids need touch. Dad's it is important for us to give a caring touch to our sons. They still need a arm around the shoulder when sitting on the couch watching a movie. Daughters still need to sit on their daddy's lap and be lavished with hugs and kisses. It's the little things that they remember two days later as your tucking them into bed. It's the little things that we do now that will change your family tree.

One day my son and daughter will not remember what movie we watched that night, but they will remember that we had movie night and that it was fun and that it was a time when we were all together. Those are the kind of things that change a family. Those are the things that change a family tree. If you don't want the same old thing, the status quo, the usual for your family than begin chaning your family tree. Maybe one day your grandkids will come to your house and tell you all about movie night and how they got to sit on the couch with dad or mom. That's when you know your family tree will never be the same.

Start changing your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, May 10, 2010

Road Trip

Anyone else ever have those moments you wish you could hit the rewind button and do what you just did in a whole different way? I do! All the time! Sometimes I feel like the Apostle Paul, and not in a good way. I do the things I don't want to do and I don't do the things I know I should. And so it goes this weekend.

Friday I came home from work and started planning all the things I needed to get done this weekend, especially before any rain were to come in, as it was predicted. Mow the grass, change the oil in the car, do some different repairs on the house, etc... Not once did I stop to think that my wife might want or even need me to go with her on a road trip to see her grandmother, who had not seen our new baby yet. She had this trip planned all week and not once did I consider that I needed to go. She has gone to see her grandmother many times and she didn't need me any of those times, so why would this trip be any different. But it was different! When she asked me what I was going to do when they (my wife and three kids) were gone I replied, "Oh, I've got somethings to do." I thought that would be the end of it. But I was wrong. You know you have really messed up when you can hear it in their voices that you have disappointed them. She said, "OK. I didn't think you would go with us anyway. I've stopped planning around your schedule and just go when it works for the rest of us, because I know you have other things to do." When she said this it was so matter of fact. She didn't seem upset, or angry. It was just the way it was. But that's were the problem was. That it was just the way it was. The disappointment was there and apparently it had been there before.

That's when it hit me! I had messed up in a big way! She was needing me to place her and her desires above my own. Sure I had things to do, but not one of them was going to make a difference in the life of my family. Not one of those things were more important than spending time throwing the baseball around with my son while at his Great Grandmother's house. Not one of those things were more important than seeing the face of my wife's grandmother as my eleven year old daughter carried in the house my one month old daughter and showed her to Granny for the first time.

Those are the things that matter in life! No one will remember how nice your lawn looked or if you maintained your car perfectly when you are lying there on your death bed. My hope is, that when that time comes my family is gathered around me remembering how they felt that they were more important to me than anything else in this world!

Sometimes before we can change our family tree we have to come face to face with somethings that are not always pretty to look at. We have to put our families desires above our own! We have to let them see that they are special and not just assume they know it. Dad's if we don't teach our sons this, they are bound to repeat it.

Dad, don't be afraid to change your family tree! But start now! Time is of the essence. Before we know it our children are up and gone and it will be too late! So look fear in the face and tell it, " You are not going to win this time!" Don't be afraid Dad! Don't be afraid!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Dad, don't be afraid to change your family tree.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Every morning when I log on to my computer I always go and check Facebook. I know it's addictive, but I get to see what's going on with some of my friends around the world. But the one thing that happens everyday is I am bombbarded with birthdays. Everyday is someone elses birthday on my friends list. I see them and think, "I need to wish them a happy birthday." And for some strange reason I feel guilty if I don't wish them all a happy birthday, even the guy I have not seen since grade school, but who found me on facebook. I feel almost obligated to say, "Happy B-Day! Have a great day." That is the only gift I can give the guy from grade school, who I really don't know and who really doesn't know me. But a gift I have given.

As I typed these birthday wishes to a friend from the past this morning I was enlightened to the fact that for those of us who have families have truly been given the best gift ever. What an amazing gift we have been blessed to have each and everyday! We have been given the opportunity to invest in the lives of our family. To train them up in the way they should go! To teach and disciple young minds who long to be like dad or like mom. We get to invest in their daily growth to becoming young men and young women who love the Lord with their whole heart and whole mind! This is an incredible thing that God our Father has placed on us.

So let me be the first to wish you a Happy Birthday! Go home and look your gifts in the eye, hold them in your arms and tell them how thankful you are to be their dad or their mom. Tell the Lord how thankful you are for the gifts He has given you. This is one way you can change your family tree. Always remember that gratitude goes a long way.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh

Family Tree Ministries