Some thoughts from the Godly Daddy scene …
– When I’m driving and my mind goes daydreamy (probably not a good idea), I have wondered about how our child-raising experience must compare to our Biblical ancestors. Did Samuel turn to his kids in the back of their five-seater chariot and tell them to “Share the stone tablet or I’ll turn this thing around?!” Did Rebekah put her kids in a clay play saucer with dangly wooden toys just hoping they would stay occupied long enough so she could go wash clothes in the Jordan River?
– Before we had kids, Darling Valerie and I already overpacked for trips. Now that we added two little ones we have so much stuff loaded in the car just to go to Chick-fil-A that it looks like we’re driving cross-country with the Beverly Hillbillies.
– Earlier this month we were up by the Tennessee River near Waverly. There’s something refreshing about going on vacation off the grid with no cell service or paved roads, and my grandfather’s hand-drawn map to the lake house includes specifics such as “country store,” “sawmill,” “duck pond” and “gravel road.” All it was missing is to “Turn left where the old oak tree used to be” and “Look for Butch the bull by the side of the road, and turn right.”
– When I was single, my language was peppered with pop culture references to movies like “Anchorman” or “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Nowadays it’s all “Dora the Explorer” and “Thomas & Friends.”
– I find that when I’m talking to my kids when they’re fussy, I sound like Andy Samberg during that “Saturday Night Live” skit where he plays Mark Wahlberg talking to animals: “Hey, little baby. It’s good to see you. I like your little toes. What’s all that crying about? We should do a Flip camera movie together, whaddya think? Say hi to your mother for me, okay?”
– How does a great Godly hero like Nimrod end up being just a name that is used as an insult? In Genesis 10:8-12 Nimrod is described as a “mighty hunter before the LORD” who built up great cities. Now? You call someone a “nimrod” and you’d better have your dukes up.
– Our mini Cooper is such a ball of toddler energy, the only way to catch up to him is like how former baseball commentator and former catcher Bob Uecker described the best way to catch a knuckleball: Wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up.
– I’m going to start a gym for only fat people. It will have a BMI limit of 30 percent. Fall below it, and you’re kicked out. We wouldn’t want to intimidate those folks who are on the treadmill with a 44 oz. Slushee in the cupholder, now would we?
– That being said, you’re never too old to enjoy a snack of Goldfish crackers and Kool-Aid.
– DV and I have decided that to properly lose weight, we should just follow what Cooper does all day and eat what he eats. We’d be exhausted and starving, but we’d lose 10 pounds a day, even by eating only chicken and fries.
– I frequently regret teaching Cooper some things, such as “Ring Around the Rosies.” It’s neither easy nor pretty when a 36-year-old fat man has to “all fall down.”
– We’ve been emptying warehouses to buy diapers for almost three years now. You’d think by being a part of the diaper companies’ “clubs,” we’d have enough points to buy a Volvo. Not so much. They are a little stingy with the freebies. We barely have enough to get a free Volvo key chain.
– Jeff Rushing
Many times, we fathers fail to rely on our Heavenly Father for our needs. We will work hours and hours of overtime, we will sell everything we have, and we will even go so far as to sell our time with God for our needs to be met. At times, we will rely more on the government more than we will rely on God because the government is more tangible. However, we have seen the failure and lack of integrity of the government in meeting the needs of the people. God is the one who provides for each and every one of His children.
I am a prosperity teacher. There. It’s out in the open and you can now put the stones away. I am not a name it and claim it follower. I don’t believe that you can speak that Rolls Royce into existence. I don’t see that point in screaming at the devil. I don’t see the point of yelling out that you are blessed since you and I both already know you are blessed (see Deuteronomy 28 if you are in doubt…) I have to admit this though; you will never see me teach or talk about being poverty minded or thinking that being in poverty is of God. Let me explain.
I struggled for years with this thought that God blesses His people. I would see “those preachers” on television that would talk about being blessed and talk about being prosperous and I would laugh. I had a great sense of skepticism towards those types of people. Many of them would shout and scream out how blessed they were so I guess I could say that it was a turn off. However, as I moved to St. Louis, I had a great longing for the things of God. I had always grown up in church but church wasn’t working for me. I had been burned with the people of God. But, I decided to give it another try. So, I started attending a church with my then girlfriend (now awesome wife) and I was appalled.
Our preacher taught time and time again that we are blessed. He would say “I call you blessed” at the end of each message. “How could you say that I am blessed yet I have great lack?” It was a challenge to even want to tithe knowing that I was struggling.
Now, as a father, I couldn’t fathom my children going without. We don’t spoil them but we do make sure that their needs are met. If they need food, we feed them. If they need a doctor, we take them. Before I became a father, I didn’t really realize this fact. Men, God is wild about you. And here is the wild thing about our Father in Heaven; He wants to meet your needs and go far beyond what you could ever imagine.
I got this revelation one day while reading in Matthew 6. “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?” The birds of the air are taken care of by our Father…wouldn’t He do more than what He would do for a bird? Just in the next chapter, Jesus was speaking “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” If your child asked for a piece of bread, would you instead give him a piece of rock? No. Absolutely not! Why then would your Father in Heaven do that to you or I?
Right now, as I write this, Sara and I are in a dry spell in our finances. I should say that we have been for the last 6 years. We certainly can’t complain since there’s food on our table. However, we continue to have things come up time after time that rob our finances of any prosperity. Does this negate the Word of God? It does not. It only proves that God is going to come through because He cannot lie. At the end of the day, I have to go back to Psalms 121:1-2, “I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and earth!” Our help comes from the Lord who made the earth. He owns a thousand cattle on a hill. And as Dave Ramsay would say “and He owns the hills too.”
Have you ever held a grudge? Did you ever have someone say or do something to you that you felt that was just unforgivable? Have you had someone do something totally opposite of what you told them to do and it caused them to fall? The “I told you so” syndrome has swept this nation like never before. We find ourselves with our noses in the business of people and yet we really don’t even know their hearts. We give them advice, we tell them how it is, we tell them “I told you so” when they never even asked us for the advice, and sometimes they even ask for the advice that they rejected. We have to find that fine line between distance and unforgiveness. Many of us walk around this world bitter because we don’t get our way in other people’s lives, because we think we know it all, or people do things to us that we just can’t explain. Now, you are probably wondering where this is going. I am setting a foundation to the title of this message and I hope that it makes you and I really think. I pose a question for the both of us today that I hope will help you to pause and think before holding a grudge or unforgiveness; where’s the rewind button? You know, when you miss a point in a movie or a story and you can just flip back or rewind the tape and see it again.
When someone does the things that I have mentioned before that cause us to harbor bitterness, where is the rewind button so they can go back and fix that mistake that they had made? Do we continue to throw it in their faces each time they do something we disagree with or do we let it go and move on? In Matthew 18, Jesus told a parable of a master and his servant who owed him a large sum of money. The servant did not have it and begged the master for leniency. The master had mercy on him and set him free. However, the servant went out and found another servant who owed him money and demanded he pay what he owed. The master caught wind of what was going on and in verse 32 Jesus reveals his response, “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.” It is interesting to see that in verse 33 Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Now, you are probably pondering, “you mean the same God that has the love, grace, and mercy to send His Son to die for me would not forgive me?” The answer is clear. We are so quick to quote the goodie scriptures but when it comes to God’s demands of our lives, we are quick to forget those scriptures. Can you find the rewind button to delete what was just said here? Just kidding. But all jokes aside, we need to let it go. Many would ask, “how many times must I forgive this person for the same thing. I do it over and over and it’s tiring!” Peter asked this question “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus spoke to him and said, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Are you harboring unforgiveness toward your mate or your child? Are you upset because your employer treated you unfairly? Remember, God calls you to forgive them, whether you believe they deserve it or not. It is so easy to harbor that bitterness. It so easy to say, “they haven’t forgiven me, then why should I forgive them?” The enemy loves to use bitterness and unforgiveness to his advantage. It opens the door for strife and anger to enter. It’s so easy to let the situation sit on the back burner and fan the flame. I pose this to you today and to myself, put out the flame, get out of the pot, and move on. Sitting in your world of bitterness and anger is not going to change the person or the situation.
Your bitterness and anger is not going change the situation. There is no way that we can go back and make that person, who did wrong, do right. Bringing it up will not cause it to happen, it only hurts the person and hurts yourself. I want to say this in closing; what would you do if God came up to you and threw everything you ever did in your face? Now I am not saying that you can go sin like no one’s business. I am saying that when you have repented, God has forgiven it as far as the east is to the west. (See Psalm 103:12) Don’t be an instrument of Satan, but be an instrument of God. So, quit trying to hit the rewind button and hit the pause button and pray on this.
“God, we want to ask that you have Your healing hand on baby Sammy tonight. Help him get better and give his mommy and daddy peace…” This was part of our evening prayer with our children tonight. My 5-year-old later asked what was wrong with Sammy and without going into great detail, we simply said “He is hurt, in the hospital, and needs our prayers.” The truth is, it is much more complicated than just being hurt.
Earlier last week, Trey Simpson dropped off his 10-month-old son, Sammy, at the babysitter’s house as he had done ever since Sammy was born. When Sammy’s mom, Liz arrived that afternoon to pick him up, Sammy was already in his car seat, strapped in, and waiting by the door to be picked up. However, Sammy wasn’t awake or responsive. Liz pulled him out of the carrier to try to wake him and had no success.
Liz immediately strapped him back in and rushed him to the nearest emergency room. The doctors ran a few tests on Sammy which showed that he had a stroke and seizure. They immediately had him transported to Memphis Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. MRI’s were performed which indicated that Sammy had a blood clot on the left side of his brain. He immediately had surgery where doctors had to remove a section of his skull to operate and relieve the blood that formed on the brain.
The next MRI taken post-surgery showed that there was never a stroke, no damage done, and emotions were high. However, the next CT scan a couple of days later did reveal that there was evidence of a stroke that might affect his speech. There was still hope in this recent result because, with therapy, he could possibly overcome this and that the right side of the brain would be able to compensate for his left side’s weaknesses. The neurosurgeon later said that his speech would not be affected as much, but the primary concern would be his right side of his body. He will not be 100% as far as walking and using that side of his body. There will most likely be some kind of impairment and physical therapy will be required. Saturday brought on another MRI which revealed that his entire left side of his brain is stroked out (what the original MRI showed). Based on this diagnosis, he would have little to no vision and little to no use of his right side of his body.
What I’m not telling you about baby Sammy’s condition is the cause. During the surgery, the surgeons found more blood that was at least two weeks old, in addition to the blood clot that prompted the strokes that began last week’s events. Based on the diagnosis, Sammy had experienced Shaken Baby Syndrome.
When Sammy was brought into LeBonheur, it was apparent that the nurses and staff were slightly cold toward Liz and Trey. They have every right to be; LeBonheur sees at least one shaken baby syndrome case a week. After getting to know Trey and Liz, they quickly realized that this did not happen on their watch. When Sammy was dropped off that morning, they dropped off a totally perfect 10-month-old baby boy. The baby sitter said he may have fallen in his crib and hit his head. The truth is the CT scans showed severe trauma to the brain. Liz’s father said it was equivalent to falling off of a two story building. It was apparent, based on the CT scans, that an incident happened two weeks prior that caused the old blood and then again that very day. The baby sitter is now obviously on the defense. The police, as well as DHS are currently investigating this case.
First and foremost, Trey and Liz know God and His unconditional love, sacrifice, and compassion. They also know that God is in control. On the flip side, their emotions are intense, as they should be. Their faith is constraining the anger that is inside, and they are in constant prayer for peace, direction, and resolution….not to mention justice. Liz told me “I don’t know how to feel. I’m so mad that someone took abilities away from my child. Someone that I trusted to watch him. I don’t know how to recover from that. But I do know that God can still work his miracle. His mercies are new every day. Great is thy faithfulness. That Has been my motto through all this”.
Today, Sunday, has been a good day for Sammy. The nurses were able to remove the feeding tube and for the first time, Liz was able to bottle feed Sammy. In addition, Sammy was able to open his eyes. Liz said seeing his beautiful eyes open was the most precious sight she had ever seen. On top of all of today’s good news, Liz was able to hold her baby boy for the first time. Sammy was speaking “Momma” over and over again.
The road ahead is uncertain, but today’s signs show progress. Pray for this family. Pray that Sammy’s condition continues to improve. Pray that he gains 100% of all his body and comes out of this better than before he went in. Pray for peace for Trey, Liz, and family as they travel this road. Pray for peace and God’s Will as the investigations continue and that justice be served. Pray that all of this family’s needs, financial, basic necessities, and emotional needs are met. Liz’s employer will allow her to take FMLA, but she will not receive pay.
A fund has been established where you can make donations locally or mail checks to be deposited into the fund. If you live in the Memphis area or North Mississippi area you can go into any Trustmark Bank and make a donation. The account will be set up under Trey and Elizabeth Simpson and checks will need to be made payable to Trey or Elizabeth Simpson. If you wanted to mail a check for donation you can send it to,
Attn: Steve Childress
6165 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38119
Well I have, numerous times. First and foremost I am for termed positions in local, state, and federal elected positions. Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. When you have the same elected officials in office, churning their same old ideas and rhetoric, and playing the same old political games, this government will never change. I am for putting fresh people, average Joe’s like you and me, into office with ground roots ideas. Who knows more of the hardships on Main street than on Wall street than the average Joe? Also the main fact that the average Joe’s will not be corrupted in politics and we’ll have their terms served before they can truly become corrupted in politics, therefore the best interest of the people are truly at the top of mind when decisions are made.
So what does it take for a person to run for an elected position? What keeps the majority of people who want to make this leap from doing so? I’ve asked these same questions and pondered for quite some time where to get started, what qualifies you as a candidate, and I think the number one reason that detours people from running is how do you maintain a living doing it? Throughout this post I will be referring to the State of Tennessee, its laws/qualifications because Tennessee is all I know and obviously where I call home. For those of you reading this in the other 49 check your state’s qualifications, but at the end of the day the same principles apply.
What qualifies a person to be an elected official? You have to be called to this position. I’m not saying that God is going to knock you off your ride with a blinding light on the road to Damascus, but you have to truly have a heart of concern for your cause. Your cause being local, state, or federal you need to pinpoint where you can best serve and make a difference. For me it is hands down on a state level. My personal conviction is representing the people of West Tennessee. I want to make a difference in the state ergo make a difference on a federal level.
You need to get to the heart of your core beliefs. We don’t need a carbon copy of an already elected official we need YOU, YOUR ideas, and YOUR beliefs. YOU matter as well as what you have to say. You probably already know what “party” you best fall into but stand firm in those beliefs. There will never be another YOU to voice these opinions. I am no doubt a God fearing Republican.
You need to have the drive to become an elected official, not just the idea of it, but the execution of becoming one. I like the idea of losing 20 lbs but having the drive to do so is a different story. We each have different personalities and God has gifted each of us in a different way. To be a public leader you have to possess the natural ability of public speaking, leadership, listening/relating, the ability to make controversial decisions, and live your life knowing your every move is being watched and judged. My wife is the complete opposite of me and does not like an ounce of attention drawn to her. On the other hand I’m one to walk into a room and strike up a conversation with a lamp. I love people, I love being involved, and I love voicing my opinions.
You must qualify according to your state’s laws. Let’s look at a Tennessee House of Representative position. According to TN state law a candidate must be at least 21 years of age, a US citizen, a citizen of TN for 3 years, a resident in the represented county for at least 1 year, and a qualified registered voter in the legislative district. Sounds good so far moving on….one must obtain a nomination petition from the county election commission office and do so 90 days before the deadline. One must obtain at least 25 local registered voter signatures nominating you as a candidate. From there one will file their nomination and what party they will run under to their local county district. Seems easy, but let’s talk about the biggest setback in my opinion, and why people like me have not made this leap.
Money….Yes this little necessity we all need to survive on. Not money to enter a nomination, this whole process is actually free. Running a campaign does require personal money but as much as one thinks. These funds will come from various sources who decide to back you as a candidate. I’m talking about your annual salary. Going back to a TN House Rep they do get a salary for their elected position. A whopping $19,009 a year plus $185 a day per diem per legislative day. Keeping to the notion of your average middle class Joe running for office who would have an average salary of maybe $45,000 a year cannot sacrifice a $26,000 pay cut to pursue this cause. Therefore when it’s all said and done the only people who could really afford this position are those whose jobs allow flexibility. A TN House of Representative will spend at the minimum of 90 days in session over a two year period. So that’s 45 days a year. What company will allow you 45 days off a year? At the most if you cashed in your vacation days you could only use an average of 10 (two weeks) days. You’ll have to kiss your family vacations good bye because you’ve used up those days in session. Now given you get $185 per day per diem. That’s an additional $8,325 a year plus the $19,009 salary you’re now earning $27,334 a year. Still a major cut from the average Joe’s $45,000 salary. Jobs that do allow you to miss these days are those that are already paying you a nice hefty salary and the money the state gives you to represent them is merely pocket change. These flexible jobs are ones such as Lawyers, Insurance Agents, Small Business owners, Retired individuals etc. Someone like me who work’s a 40 hour work week can’t have this flexibility. There are those rare occasions when ones employer would work with you, but most fall under the idea “when done for one it must be done for all.”
So this begs the question, how does the average Joe compete? I’d really like to know. How does someone like me who wants to make a difference, and have their voice heard, compete against the issue of a loss of necessary income? Am I penalized from this arena because of the profession I have chosen? The issue of compensating ones current salary to hold a seat in their state’s representing positions is the biggest setback I have found that keeps average Joe’s from running on their party’s ticket. This post is now open for discussion so let’s hear your feedback!
As a father, you hear often once your beautiful wife gives birth this statement “He/She looks like….” Inevitably within a matter of a few minutes, this baby all of a sudden looks like mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, the mailman…. maybe the last one is a stretch but in that time, this child is a freak. I know, some of you are appalled and befuddled that I would call your child a freak but humor me for a few moments. Everyone has just matched your child up with five or six different people in your family. “oh, they have your brother’s nose….they have your mom’s eyes….they have your father’s ears….they have your sister’s smile….” and this child isn’t a freak? Okay, maybe not a freak but “precious.”
But on a serious note, how often does someone say to you “You look just like your Father?” What features of your Father are people saying that you reflect from the Father? Is it mercy and grace or kindness? I was reading in Psalms 119 (which is one of my favorite chapters in the Word of God) where David was praying to God “ Oh that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.” David, the chief sinner of the Old Testament and the great receiver of grace, desired nothing more than to be the man that could be a reflection of God. In James the great preacher wrote “For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.”
As a father, my desire is to be just like Him, the ultimate Father. When I find myself loosing my temper or falling from grace, I don’t see the reflection of my Father in Heaven. I wrote in an earlier post to “be careful little ears what you hear” because our children repeat what we say and they live up to those words. They also reflect our actions. Have you ever said, “I will never say what my parents said?” You are a liar. I said the same thing before I got married and had children. Then it happened. It slipped. I promise, I wasn’t trying to lie. I wasn’t purposing to tell a fib. But I did. I told my daughter Maleah one night recently….”because I said so.” Doh! I hung my head in shame and walked away. I couldn’t believe I said it. It made it to Facebook and most people hung their heads with me while the others laughed. Why did they laugh? They did it too! We often reflect what our parents say and do. Here’s the thing…you have the option to reflect the good and to keep from reflecting the bad.
I purpose for my children to reflect patience (still a big work in progress), a can do attitude, faith in God, and so much more. My girls will reflect me one day as they get older. My prayer is that they reflect the good and forget the bad! Perhaps my prayers will be answered.
Recently, I have been reading on the grace of God in a book entitled “Destined to Reign” by Joseph Prince. So often, our thoughts and our hearts revolve around our sin and what we have done wrong. Sin means to “miss the mark” which is what we do on a daily basis. If not for the grace of God, we would all be condemned to hell. Now, hang with me because there is a point for us fathers to get on this. I am a pretty straightforward guy. The sky is blue, the grass (when watered) is green, God is love, and etc. My children are learning that pretty quickly as they are getting older and as they see it, what Dad says Dad means. That’s good, I guess, until they see that there is no leverage.
In Jonah, God had already prepared to wipe out the whole city and he had just the right man to go tell them. Jonah wanted no part in it. So far, he had heard that these people were the upmost heathens and they could all rot for all he cared. Therefore, Jonah would embark on a journey of running from God. While on this journey, God sent a fierce storm to get Jonah’s attention and attention is what God received. Jonah told the fishermen to cast him overboard and all would be well. Jonah would then be swallowed up by the big fish and then be puked up on the coast leading to the land locked city of Nineveh.
Soon, Jonah would arrive to the city and proclaim that God would wipe out the entire city if they did not repent. Unbeknownst to Jonah, the city did repent. Jonah went far from the city and sat to watch its impending doom. Something strange had happened… the city of Nineveh did not get flattened. God would spare the people and give them yet another chance. What happened to the God who wanted to squash this great city? The heart of God was compelled to show grace to His children, even though they did not deserve it.
Fathers, I am guilty. I have to admit that I am pretty graceless when it comes to our children. I have to daily remind myself of God’s grace when it comes to teaching our children. How much more does our Father in heaven extend grace and forgiveness to us as His children? In Matthew 18:21, we see a candid reminder of how much of Father extends His grace. Peter had had enough of being stabbed in the back thus he asked “how many times must I forgive my brother?” Giving a number of 70 times, he lays the ball in Jesus’ court. What is Jesus’ response? “Seventy time seven.” How does this correlate with God’s grace? If God is calling us to forgive others over and over again, would He not then follow His own instructions?
Here is the rest of the story: “Therefore, the kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king to decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors who was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold-along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned-to pay the debt. But the man fell before his master and begged him, ‘please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.” Take a moment and let that sink in men of God. The king heard the cry of mercy and grace from his servant and forgave the debt. God knew that you and I could not repay the debt that we owed and gave us grace towards the debt.
As we read on, we see that this servant did not appreciate the grace. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘ Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.” The servant of the king did not extend the same grace that the king had given to him. Here’s the irony; we are the same way. How often do you and I get cut off in traffic or have someone being promoted before us or have someone mistakenly bill us for something that we didn’t do yet we have a “how dare you” attitude? Ouch. This was the revelation that I received when reading this book. The revelation was that not only had God given me grace but that He expects me to extend grace. You know the rest of the story of the servant. Someone witnessed it and the king found out bringing him to the ultimate decision to throw him into the prison to be tortured. There’s a sermon in itself but I won’t go there.
If God turned His back on you and I every time we sinned, we would have no relationship because you and I sin on a daily basis. We miss the mark so often that Jesus had to die so that our sins would be cleansed. The ultimate act of grace was that instead of you and I getting the beating, Jesus received it. In order for our children to give grace to those around them, they must first see grace given to them.
Men, I challenge you in this area as God has challenged me. “If Jesus must forgive his ‘brother’ seventy times seventy times, why would our Heavenly Father not do the same for us? Why would He not follow His own example? We as His representatives must do the same for our wives, our children, our families, and the world around us.”