James 1:12-15 (Devotional)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:12-15 ESV)

I was blessed to know my great-grandfather growing up. I remember on one occasion fishing in a clear water stream in Montana. My great-grandfather was hoping to catch a big trout for dinner. The problem was that even when he put his hook and bait seemingly in front of a large fish, they would not bite. Finally he got fed up and packed his pole to leave. I had the crust left over from my PB and J sandwich and I threw it into the stream. Suddenly fish darted from everywhere and started fighting each other for a bite of my crust. Apparently trout love discarded bread crust from a little boy’s lunch a lot better than the bait my grandfather used…I learned from my grandfather that the secret to fishing is to use bait that appeals to a fish’s appetite. You do not catch fish using just any kind of bait. You have to use bait they like. The fish’s appetite is ultimately what makes them bite into a hook.

Sometimes in the midst of a trial we are tempted to think that God does not have our best interest at heart. We can think that God is “tempting” us to sin. Like God is the one baiting the hook for us. But that is not true. The writer of the book of James reminds us that God does not tempt us, but that temptation comes internally from our own brokenness and desire to sin. Just like a fish biting into a hook we become a victim to our own desires. We can actually trust God in the midst of our temptations. The bible says in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was tempted just like we are, but that He was without sin. That means that we can run to Jesus when we are tempted and He knows exactly how to help us and how to encourage us to overcome our temptation because He has overcome.

Balancing Ministry And Family (Part 1:Children)

My dad was a pastor and church planter while I was growing up.  He would often work a regular job, pastor a small church, and do a bible study and some ground work in a community or ranch (sometimes up to 60 miles away) that would lead to a church plant.  Needless to say he was busy.  (Oh, and I forgot to mention there were four of us kids, all begging for his attention.) Yet, unlike several PK’s (pastor’s kids) I knew my dad always had time for me.  I never felt like I was in competition with the church or the ministry for his time.


Perhaps this was because my Dad was incredibly gifted in balancing his time.  I still remember the fishing trips to a bend in the river 15 miles outside of town, the fossil hunting expeditions, catching snakes, looking for arrowheads, discovering a dinosaur bone, and pestering him while he worked on the car that always seemed to stay broken.  My favorite memories though are the weekly trips we would take out to a Bible study he was leading.  I was blessed to have a 45 minute ride each way with my dad.  All along the way there we would talk about life.  All the way back we would listen to radio preachers like John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, and Chuck Swindoll.

So then fast forward several years and now I’m an Associate Pastor of Students, taking graduate classes, and have my own little girl looking at both the ministry and my daughter thinking (with all of my other responsabilaties) that there isn’t enough time in the day.  How did my dad ever do it?  Then I realize that he didn’t view his time with me and ministry as in competition, but as a complimentary.  Sure we took special trips to hunt for arrowheads or go fishing (Quality time) but along the way he was sure to get plenty of time (quantity time) with me along the way through taking me along on some of his ministry outings.

So I stole a page from my dad’s playbook when it comes to stretching the hours in a day.  I take my little girl to the sporting events that our students are playing in.  Last week we went to three different games.  She got to watch a basketball game, a race, and a football game all in one week.  With my wife being a stay at home mom and pregnant with baby number 2, this works out well to give her a little personal mom time while Rebekah and I hang out and cheer our students on.

We also schedule consistent father daughter hangout time.  Right now because of her age its usually pancakes at McDonald’s every Friday morning.  She usually hangs out with me after I run in the evenings and I tell her everything I did that day (which has evolved into her telling me about her day… very strange for a 3 year old).  Sometimes I’ll walk instead of run so she can “run” with me around our neighborhood.

How do you ensure that you are spending quality time with your children when you are busy?