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