Category Archives: family

When judging where a culture or society is as a whole, one of the best places to look is at the state of the family. This category will focus on looking at the families in our culture, what it means for our society as a whole and how the church should be responding.

Use Your Manners!


If you were to come into my home and listen in on some of our family conversations in the house, you would hear me getting onto my kids periodically for different things.  Sometimes it has to do with the way they treat each other.  Sometimes it has to do what they are saying about someone else.

But none of those even come close to the one thing I’m always all over them about.  It’s a small thing really, but in the long run it’s a big thing.  My wife might even tell you that I get onto them so quickly about manners that I sometimes fail to give them the chance to use them.  Maybe so.  But manners are a big deal to me.

Manners

This was only reinforced during my time in North Carolina.  It seemed like every where we went, people were only too willing to extend a hand of common courtesy.  Letting you pull into a space in front of them.  Starting a conversation with you as if you had been friends since birth.  The kindness to give us a free sweet tea, not because we ordered one, but because you were just extending a hand of good, old fashioned, southern hospitality.

Granted, some of these examples go beyond manners, but it starts with the basics, “Please,” and, “Thank you.”

I want to help my kids grow to be respectful and kind to people around them.  I don’t want them thinking they are above treating people respectfully for the things they do for them.  Some days my kids are really on the ball with manners.  Other days I go to bed with a sore throat.

Still, being at the beach simply reinforced for me my stand on manners.

What do you think about manners?

 

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The Scary Part Of “Tomorrow!”


Once again this summer I am spending a week, sitting on the sand of Carolina Beach, North Carolina. I’m soaking up a lot of sun and family time. It has been a great week.

Last summer after our trip to the beach, I posted a series of three blogs about the lessons I was learning while at the beach. You can find those here or by searching for posts on, “Beach.”

This year I picked up a couple things as well. For instance, the danger of always saying, “Tomorrow,” or, “Maybe later.”

While swimming in the ocean, my sons said, “Dad, can we boogie board?”

“Of course,” was my reply.

“Hey Dad, can we have soda with our dinner?”

“Absolutely,” I would say.

“Dad, can I tell you about these facts I’m reading about in my book?”

“I’d love to hear them,” I would say.

But at home, too often the answer is, “Maybe tomorrow. I’m tired. I’ll get to you later. Maybe next week we can do that. No, you can’t have soda for supper.”

And before you know it, tomorrow becomes ten years and you aren’t sure where the time went. Then you live in regret because you missed some of your kid’s best moments.

So, yes, there is a danger in too many “tomorrows.”

Do you have a son you should be playing catch with? Do you have a daughter you should be having a tea party or playing Barbies with? Do you have a child you should be listening to because they have questions about something they read?

Did you just tell them, “In a minute,” because you just had to finish reading this blog? (I hope not.)

Try changing your answer and watch their eyes light up.

Do Work!


Last fall I played in a men’s flag football league in Fairfax, Virginia.  It was a blast.  One of my teammates was named, Bryan.  He and I played defense on the same side of the field (this meant we got to know each other really well).  He had a great phrase he would use during crucial moments of a game.  He would look at me right in the eyes and say, “Time to do work, Rodda!  Do work!”  Granted, the grammar isn’t great, but the phrase gets the job did done.  That phrase and his intensity always challenged me to run a little faster, to jump higher and work harder than the guy lined up across from me.

Jordan River

Now jumping to present day life.  Our Campus had an awesome Sunday.  Our theme was, “Get Right With God.”  We had really cool stories lined up for people to tell about how God has impacted their lives.  We talked a lot about the Jordan River and water in Scripture.  It seems to me that water, especially the Jordan, carries some powerful significance to God.  Every time the Jordan is mentioned, it seems there is some transition in life, something leading to victory and hope.

  • Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan
  • Moses’ passing the mantle of leadership to Joshua
  • Elijah passing the mantle of leadership to Elisha

We challenged people to come to the banks of the Jordan.  To get their feet wet.  To make a commitment.  To dive all in for God.  To give Him full control of their lives.  To immerse themselves in the waters of baptism.

Then, we handed them a card.  We challenged them to fill out the card and to tell us about a commitment they might need to make.  We also asked them to tell us how we could pray for them.  What things in life were holding them back from giving God their all and how we could we be praying for them.

Then it happened.  I sat down that afternoon to read the cards.  I began to pray for individuals by name who were going through some very serious things in life.  And to think they trusted us enough to tell us what was going on behind closed doors.  I believe it was a huge moment in the life of our Campus.

One man wrote…

I want to serve as a better example for my family – wife and kids.  To live a life with God and Jesus in control.

And another…

…the strength to save my family.

Another…

Stronger family.

And still another said…

My marriage.  It is dying.

And this was just the beginning.  As I prayed for these people and families, I was overwhelmed with emotion for them.  I was blown away by their honesty and their stories.  And that’s when it hit me.  Do work!

Satan is doing work.  He’s working.  He’s getting after it.  He’s destroying lives.  He’s lying to people about what brings fulfillment and purpose.  Oh yes, Satan does work!

Am I?

Am I ready to, ‘Do work?’

Are you?

The field is there.  The people are ready.  The hearts and souls of people are open and ready for transformation.  As my friend Bryan would say, “It’s time to ‘Do work!'”

9 Years!


When you say it like that, it seems like a long time.  I mean, nine years is a long time, right?  Nine is almost ten and ten is a decade.  A decade is a really long time, right?

If you start at zero it takes you an entire 3,285 days, 78,840 hours, 4,730,400 minutes, 283,824,000 seconds to get to nine years.  That’s a long time, right?

Surely that time goes by so slowly.  Every second, minute, month and year ticks by in an agonizingly, slow fashion.  You can’t get there fast enough, right?

Well, apparently not.  I mean, it was only last week when he was a tiny, newborn baby in my arms.

Newborn Grant

Then I blinked and this happened…

Grant at 9

What the what?

How?

Where did my more than 4 million minutes with him go?

How did 283 million seconds tick by so quickly?

Is this the feeling I’m supposed to have when the Bible tells me to, “take advantage of every opportunity?”

My son, you are so amazing!  You are growing up to be an exceptional young man.  I am blessed to have you in my life.  Thank you so much for making this journey special.  I love you with all my heart and will be here for you as long as I live.  I pray for you everyday and it is my deepest desire that you choose to live your life for Jesus Christ!

I love you, Grant Isaac (Great Laughter)!  Happy 9th Birthday!

Easter Traditions!


On Friday night, I called my kids up to the living room.  The only light in the room was candle light.  I read some Scripture (John 13) and talked about the night before Jesus was crucified.  Yes, I know Friday night isn’t the right night for that, but I had a late meeting on Thursday.

I told my three children about foot washing and what it means to be a servant to others.  Then I went around the room and washed all their feet.  Then, I washed my wife’s feet.  I didn’t expect it, but each of them took turns washing my feet.  It was a great experience and opened up some great conversation, at least from my two oldest children.

Then, I read to them about the Lord’s Supper from Matthew 26.  We talked about what the Lord’s Supper is and why we have communion each Sunday at church (Acts 20:7).  We had grape juice out and some crackers.  Some of you might not agree with my next move, but we talked about how communion reminds us of Jesus’ crucifixion and what He did for us.  Then we all drank some grape juice and at the crackers.  It was a special night and I wanted my kids to understand what communion is and who it is for.

Communion

Then, we went into the dining room to have supper.  It was a good segway into the next part of our evening.  After dinner, we made “empty tomb” cookies.  It’s actually amazing how they are hollow inside.  If you want the recipe, you’ll have to ask my wife.  We made them together and talked about different parts of the Easter story.  Smashing up walnuts we talked about how Jesus’ body was broken.  Putting some vinegar in the cookies we talked about how Jesus was offered vinegar to drink on the cross.  We added salt and talked about the salty taste of tears and the people who were crying when Jesus died.  It was really cool.  I’m hoping to make stuff like this a Rodda family tradition.

*On a side note, I even let my oldest son watch a few scenes from The Passion of the Christ.  I thought he was old enough to see a pretty accurate image of what the crucifixion was like.

I don’t remember a lot of Easter traditions in my family.  We probably had some, I’ve just forgotten (I know, I’m a bad son).  I’m looking forward to sharing cool moments like this each Easter with my family.  I pray it helps them develop a strong connection with how important Easter is and how it is much more than an Easter bunny and candy.

Does your family have any Easter traditions?

I’d love to hear them.

Please share in the comments.

A Personal Note!


I wanted to share a quick post for a very special person.

See the new header on my blog?  It has cool pictures of me and my family on it.

My wife made it for me.

Thank you, Misty.

You’re talented and amazing.  I’m blown away that God gave you to me.  I love you!  Thanks for taking time to make me a special picture, just for my blog.

You can see more of her work here.

Take The Real Man Challenge!


Let’s just be honest, many men don’t truly value their wives.  Let me be more honest, I have not always valued my wife the way God expects me to.  For that, I am eternally in debt to my amazing wife.

My guess is that most of you who read this blog have probably heard a song by Bruno Mars called, “Just The Way Your Are.”  I’m not necessarily a fan of Bruno Mars personally, but I truly enjoy this song and wish that all men felt this way about their wives.

Bruno Mars

I want to challenge every man out there who has a spouse, is engaged or who would like to be married some day; when you have a wife, cherish her, love her, sacrifice for her, die on the side of a mountain for her.  It doesn’t matter to me if you are on to your second or third marriage (or more), but if you will love your wife the way God intends, you will see your marriage bloom into something amazing.

Ephesians 5 offers some guiding principles.  Some people take offense to them.  Men believe they can never live up to them.  But let me tell you where God stands on your marriage.  God says this in Ephesians 5:25-27 (Message)…

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.

Your love for your wife should reflect the love Jesus has for the church.  Jesus died for the church!

Your love for your wife should make her whole and complete.  Does your love for her leave her feeling as if she is whole and complete?  Or does she feel like something is missing?

Your love for your wife should bring out her best to your family and the world.  How do you speak about your wife to your friends, neighbors and co-workers?  Is she the “old ball and chain?”  Or is she so much more than that to you?

Your love for your wife should bring out the best in her.  If something isn’t right, don’t blame her first.  Look at yourself and ask if you’re doing everything in your power to bring out the best in her or are you putting her in no-win situations.

Your love for your wife should have her looking holy, blameless and radiant to everyone on the planet.  Can you say that you do that for your wife?

This passage is a great challenge.  I believe that if men took it on fully, they would find the most satisfying and rewarding relationship with their wives.  Everything would change if men would follow through on their role in the family.  I wish I could say that I have lived this perfectly.  I strive for this standard, but often I fall miserably short.

I mentioned Bruno Mars because I think that men (and women) go into a marriage or relationship thinking the other person will change.  We often view the other as a project or someone we can fix.  And when that philosophy doesn’t pan out, we give up.  The relationship ends.  And in many cases, the lives of those involved will never be the same.

So I’m posting the Bruno Mars song (I can’t vouch for comments on YouTube nor can I vouch for the ads).  You should listen to it.  Bruno isn’t perfect either I’m sure, but the words say a lot about how men should look at their wives (not other women walking by, by the way).  And at the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I have even imagined Jesus singing this song to the church.  When the church is on its game, smiling like Jesus knows we can, the whole world takes notice.

God has given you a helper, men.  And when you treat her the way God expects, you will not experience a better relationship with anyone, ever, on this planet.  So get out there and love your wife like you’re supposed to.  Sacrifice for her.  Bring out the best in her.  Never leave her.

Girl’s Weekend!


For my wife’s birthday, a couple of her friends surprised her with a weekend away.  They headed off to Richmond yesterday and are having some girl time.  Time my wife really needed.

So it was up to me to pick up some slack.  I picked up the slack by having fun with the kids.  You didn’t expect me to clean did you?

Anyway, we had a great time yesterday and are planning some other good stuff today.  Check out this video from our little adventure yesterday.

Lent Day 3!


Today was a whirlwind for me.  I woke up a little later than normal since today was my “day off.”  I spent some time reading Scripture and giving God my top priority in the morning.  From there, it was pretty insane.

My oldest son said he was sick, but acted okay.  Sent him to school.

Off to the nZone by 9:30 am to shoot a new video for next Sunday.

While I waited for the set to be ready, I worked on my lesson (sermon) for Sunday morning.

Shot the video from 11-12pm.

Walked around the nZone to get the latest updates on construction.  Speaking of, you have to go to that link and watch some of our webcams.  New Life Christian Church is doing the coolest thing and I am so thankful to God for allowing me to be a small part of it.  If you want to see the live cams, simply click the cam you want to watch.  Your browser will ask you for a username and password.  Type in “guest” as the username and leave the password blank.  Awesome stuff is happening here!  And speaking of my tour, this was the hardest part of my day in terms of breaking Lent.  I so wanted to tweet about what I was seeing.  I held strong though.

Went home and scarfed down lunch at like 1:20.

Finally got my 4 year old daughter a big girl bed (since she was still sleeping on her crib mattress).  I know, father of the year.

Bought her some new sheets and pillows to make it more girly.  I didn’t think she would like sleeping on just the mattress.

Shipped off an ebay item I sold.

Back home to my new “office” and started slaying more work on my sermon.

Boys came home from school.  Both of them had fevers.  They did not have good days.  Again, father of the year right here.

Slammed down some dinner before “Family Night” with two sick sons.

For family night we (they) watched “Megamind.”  I had a couple more errands to run.

Knocked out the errands and then back home in time to tuck the kids in bed.

What an awesome day off!

I’m finishing up my lesson for Sunday.  I think it’s going to be good.  Can I say that about my own sermon?  Is that okay?  God has helped me to use my time well this week without other distractions keeping me from Him.  He has kept me focused on what’s most important and I really believe He is doing a great work.  I’m so thankful for this great start to Lent.  I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for me and you.  I’ll be back soon to share more.

What is God teaching you so far during Lent?

Risk > Failure!


If I told you that risk was greater than failure (r>f), would you believe me?

Some of you would.  More of you wouldn’t.  For many of us out there, risk is equally associated with the possibility of failure.  And most of us out there want no part of failure.  We are taught and trained to believe that we must succeed and that failure is not an option.

But what if I told you that failure was a great option?  What if you began to believe that your failures were simply steps forward and that they were necessary for you to be successful?

Seth Godin says it this way in his new book, “Poke The Box,”

Seth Godin

Risk, to some, is a bad thing, because risk brings with it the possibility of failure.  It might be only a temporary failure, but that doesn’t matter so much if the very thought of it shuts you down.  So, for some, risk comes to equal failure (take enough risks and sooner or later, you will fail).  Risk is avoided because we’ve been trained to avoid failure.  I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance…and if you have anxiety about initiating a project, then of course you will associate risk with failure.

Honestly, sometimes I get stuck.  I am afraid to fail.  There are probably many reasons for this.  Some linking back to how I was raised.  My beliefs growing up were that when I made mistakes (sinned), that somehow God was then against me and all of the work was on me to make things right with God.  I grew afraid to mess up, paralyzed, afraid to move for fear of getting out of line with my God or my family.  As a result, I fell in line (for the most part) like a good soldier.

My story has lead me to where I am today.  I have been in full-time ministry for 9 years.  The first 8 years of ministry, I took a lot of risks.  I made poor decisions and many of them did not pay off.  Those failures have fed into my feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.  My thoughts go something like this, “How could God use such a failure?  How can God use someone who has made so many mistakes?  Surely God will just find a more talented, qualified person to do amazing things.”

Sometimes, my thoughts win.  I fail to risk everything for God.

Other times, my heart for risk wins.  I succeed and risk all I have for God.

Does that make me bi-winning?

I want to risk everything for God.  I hate the status quo.  I despise common.  I abhor same old.

What if Jesus was afraid of movement and collisions in life?  What if Rosa Parks allowed a fear of failure to keep her from sitting right where she belonged?  What if failure prevented Martin Luther King Jr. from having a dream?  What if fear paralyzed our Presidents in times of crisis when we need them to be our fearless leaders the most?

Mr. Godin has nailed me on this point.  I’m tired of being afraid of failure.  It’s not a good feeling.  I want to do more.  I want to risk more.  Why?  Because God created me for risk.

When I “push the envelope”…God sends another box of envelopes.

When I stand on the edge of the cliff…God sees a bigger cliff around the corner.

When I turn over a new leaf…God sends fall.

When I shift a paradigm…God says that’s just the beginning.

Even when I think I have risked as much and gone as far as I can go, God can do more and wants me to accomplish more.  He wants the same for you.

Ephesians 3:20 – Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Are you risking everything to make your marriage a success?

Are you risking everything to bring your children up in the right way?

Are you risking everything to make sure you are a good steward of your finances?

Are you risking everything to tell your friend, neighbors, co-workers and family about Jesus?

Are you risking everything to make sure God has your entire heart?

Are you risking everything to love the unlovable?

Are you risking everything to make sure that God’s name is made great?

Are you risking everything for the mission of God and His Kingdom?

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