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WWJD? He Might Give Christians a Much-Needed Makeover

August 1st, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in World Community


I was a sixteen years old fresh, born again Christian, when I went to a skating rink that doubled as a teen club one Saturday night. Some of my friends were raised Pentecostal, so they didn’t think a newly confessing young Christian should be going roller skating.  They wanted me to attend a church event with them, but I chose to lace up my skates.  I remember it like it was yesterday… I was dancing on the floor with a really cute girl named Melani, hoping my dance moves were good enough to get her phone number and ask her to be my girlfriend.

As soon as the fast song finished, a slow jam started to play. I had some fresh gum in my mouth, so I was ready…  just in case our lips found their way to each other.  Puppy love dripped from the corners of our eyes as we gazed at each other under the shiny lights of the disco ball. Like the sound of a record being scratched because someone bumped into it passing by, a voice came on the loud speaker and announced “Kirk Franklin, please come to the front; Kirk Franklin, please come to the front.”  Afraid that my dancing partner could see the humiliation in my eyes, I made up a quick lie.  I don’t remember what it was, but I know it was a lie because what else can you say that could get you out of your name being blasted over the speakers of a teen club full of TEENAGERS?

As I slowly walked to the front I saw my friends I’d mentioned earlier, standing there waiting on me. It was around eleven o’clock at night, and they’d come because they were upset that I chose rollerskating over church.

They spoke to me in such an embarrassing way, humiliating me to the point that onlookers laughed loudly at the scene.

“You’re a Christian,” they yelled.  “What are you doing at a teen club?”

The message was clear. I was wrong. They were spiritual. What they didn’t know or failed to learn is that the one ingredient that causes a person to grow and mature to a place where they can see something about their Christian process is the ingredient called LOVE. Everything else is guilt, embarrassment and condemnation. Those ingredients are never rich with the nourishments to grow.

I carried that humiliation for years… and it’s unfortunate that many Christians today continue to use those same tools in their process of trying to win people to Christ.

I don’t know where people got the idea from the Bible that holding a picket sign outside of an event would win the hearts of unbelievers… espectially since many of those sign holders will spend hours in the hot sun just to yell at people they disagree with to reaffirm their seat in Hell.

I don’t know your name, I don’t know where you’re from, I’ve never invited you over to my home to have some lemonade and cookies, but I will shout at you and belittle you in the name of Jesus until you except him into your heart… Yeah right.

Jesus was the dopest communicator in the world. He knew people’s culture, their occupations, good and bad. Prostitutes and tax collectors alike, his skill was winning your heart, touching your heart, so you could see that he had something greater. I don’t know where being mean can bring a soft spot to land so people can know your savior.

That’s the point right? Or is the point being…RIGHT.

Some of the people you don’t like, you don’t know. But you don’t posture yourself to even get to know them. You just know them as a different race, religion, sexuality, or status. Before that, they are people. Humans. Made in the image of God. And the God you want them to see, is the God you must be. Every person that has touched my life for the better has held my hand and walked out life with me. I saw the light of Christ in their lifestyle and the change I desired was from what they modeled. Not by telling me everyday I’m wrong and to get right, but to show me what great things God had for me in exchange for my own things. They didn’t exclude the main ingredient: LOVE.

I’m tired of the loudmouth Christians who never show their brokenness. Their lack of soft hearts and soft words instead of remembering the fact that HE THAT WINNETH A SOUL IS WISE. Yelling and condemning are not love tools, and TRUTH can NEVER be absent of love.

If that’s not your strong point, be quiet.

Ask God to clean your heart so that you’re not a part of the problem but the solution.

I think its time for believers to have a makeover. To ask God how do we speak to the world, so they leave with the residue that someone bigger was speaking. web domain Not just the lady with the bull horn.

Of course, I didn’t get the chance to ask Melani for her phone number. I was too ashamed.

If shame was the mission my friends were on that night, they succeeded.

Let’s don’t keep making the same mistake.

Read more on SixSeeds Faith and Family, fan Kirk on Facebook, listen to him on YouTube, and follow him on Twitter.


7 School Habits to Establish in Summer

August 1st, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips
Some Boy has started preschool. It’s odd timing, I know, but it gives me a little break two days per week. I also wanted him to start developing school habits as he prepares to enter kindergarten in a year.School habits to start early - in summer or preschool

He wasn’t thrilled with the idea initially, but there are a few things he absolutely loves about the experience.

My sweet 4-year-old has always been a creature of habit. Most kids are, I believe, so it makes sense that an easy transition into school would rely on building school habits. Certain schedule patterns can be developed early, along with basic social skills like hand-raising, saying excuse me and forming a line.

7 school habits to start in summer so your kids are totally prepared during the year. Includes reading, an organization station and more.

7 School Habits We’re Establishing Young

1. Waking up to an alarm. If your child is a grumpy waker, morning routines can be rough. Take advantage of summertime to get them used to one of the most important school habits that will start each day.

2. Reading. Kids read daily from kindergarten through graduation. This is one of the critical school habits that you can actually begin at or before infancy, reading to them each night or at a designated quiet time.

School habits to start early - in summer or preschool

3. Packing lunch. Some Boy enjoys the excitement of opening his lunch box each day to see what surprise is waiting for him. I’m trying to develop this constant into one of the school habits he can look forward to for years to come. Here I packed an “under the sea” themed bento with a dolphin cutout sandwich, “sea anemone” green beans and bacon, a hard-boiled egg decorated with food coloring pens, a sailboat made of a peach slice and cheese wedge, and Plentils‘ lentil-based chips for waves.

4. Saving for college. As long as you’re thinking long-term with the kids, start preparing for their future by setting up a college savings account for them. We’ve partnered with ScholarShare, and we use their 529 plans to prepare for all three of our boys’ future schooling. Set up automatic deductions from your bank account, and you won’t have to think twice about the financial aspect of their education.

5. Go to bed on time. My boys go to bed between 7 and 8pm every evening, school night or not. Much like alarm-setting, this is one of those school habits that will prevent future battles.

6. Keep a journal. Your kids can write their name, a list, or even a few practice letters. Just make sure that they have pencil and paper and that they use it every day. web domain This is another core skill that they will need to exercise throughout their school careers.

7. Get organized. Have a designated spot for school supplies including backpacks and forms. Organization is one of the school habits that your children will need to rely on in every single class they take – and it will make each day go a lot more smoothly!

8. Work in a group. Unless your child has a designated one-on-one teacher (unlikely), they will be required to dialogue with peers and take turns. Arrange play dates to get them used to being around other people their own age.

School habits to start early - in summer or preschool

He probably won’t admit to it to you all, but Some Boy has actually come to love his days in preschool. As for me, I enjoy that we’re ALL developing school habits to carry the family through elementary, middle, high school and on into college.

Do you have any tips for helping kids develop school habits?


Give Me Your Heart

August 1st, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

What Parents Can Learn from Inside Out About 
a Dangerous Mistake We Make With Our Children’s Emotions


“My child, give me your heart.” Proverbs 23:26 NRSV

Disney Pixar’s latest blockbuster has a secret turning point that should serve as a warning sign to every parent. Take the wrong path at this sign, and you can inadvertently cause great pain in your child’s heart; take the right path, and you can help your child grow closer to the heart of God.

In Inside Out, the emotions of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust are personified as animated characters operating the “control center” of 11-year-old Riley’s brain. Riley is a happy, well-adjusted girl with loving parents, but her world has been uprooted when the family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. (As a dad, I perked up at this point, since I happened to be watching the movie with my soon-to-be-eleven-year-old daughter whom I have just moved to a new home in a new city.)

Inside Riley’s head, dominant emotion Joy finds herself challenged by increasing interference from Sadness after the move. The two embark on an odyssey through Riley’s memory, only able to find their way back once Joy learns the value of Sadness. There’s much to be learned from this “inside” story about how God uses even sadness to accomplish his purpose in our lives, but I want to turn our attention to a specific aspect of the “outside” storyline.

Riley isn’t the only one affected by the move: her father’s new venture is threatened by unpredictable investors; and her mother has to deal with a moving truck that is lost somewhere in Texas. After a stressful day, Riley’s mother tells her that they need for her to be happy—that she should try not be sad for the sake of the family. It’s a well-meaning gesture, spoken without malice and intended to help Riley be strong. Yet it is this conversation that sets off the trouble inside Riley’s head.

The way writer/director Pete Doctor and company tell the story, Riley’s problem is not that she is experiencing sadness as a result of the move; her real problem is that she is trying so hard not to experience sadness. Inside her head, Joy literally draws a circle around Sadness and tells her not to come out of it. That fateful decision cuts Riley off from the help that she needs, driving her into depression and isolation. In one of Pixar’s most poignant scenes, Joy ultimately lets Sadness have control, Riley’s tears finally flow, and she is able to find the emotional support that she needs. I have to admit, not a few of my own tears were flowing by that point, too.


So what can Christian parents learn from Riley’s inside out adventure? I think the crucial lesson is this: kids need us to set boundaries on behaviors, but we should beware of setting boundaries on emotions. Telling your child how to act is necessary; telling your child how to feel is a disaster waiting to happen.

Like Riley’s mother, we often do this inadvertently and with good intentions. I’ll admit to telling my children “don’t be sad!” when they have experienced a disappointment, thinking I could help them be happy again by sheer willpower. I’ve also fallen into the trap of telling one child to act happy for the sake of a sibling, or for my wife’s sake. Other times, I have confused teaching a behavior, like not whining and complaining, with controlling an emotion.

Perhaps most damaging of all is the insidious belief that God “needs” us to be happy. I’m not sure how, but I fell into this as a teenager. My unconscious line of reasoning went something like this: as evangelical Christians, we tell others that they will be happier if they accept Christ; therefore if I am unhappy, I am being a poor witness; ergo, I must shove down any feelings of sadness.

Simply put, that’s toxic spirituality. It fails as a witness, because the world can see through our plastic smiles, and it’s a recipe for an emotional breakdown if we never allow ourselves to feel difficult emotions for fear that we will be a disappointment to God. It creates a false idol that cuts us off from our Heavenly Father, who so longs to take us into his loving embrace.

But wait, didn’t Paul teach us to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4)? Yes, but we must remember that joy in the New Testament is a more complex idea that mere happiness, one that can include the presence of sadness. The same apostle reminds us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Rom. 12:15 NRSV) If Jesus himself can be “deeply grieved, even unto death” in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:38 NRSV), then surely we too can expect to experience sadness.

Of course, allowing ourselves and our children to express sadness is not the same thing as wallowing in self-pity. Like the Psalmist, we can learn to say, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” (Ps. 42:11 NRSV) But notice the progression: first, acknowledging sadness as real and giving it expression. Second, seeking out the reason for the sadness. Only then does the writer direct his own soul to find hope in God, a pathway which he knows will eventually lead back to joy and praise. This is no easy shortcut to “positive thinking,” this is the hard work of allowing grief and sorrow to have their place even while we hold on steadfastly to hope.

In the Proverb quoted above—“My child, give me your heart”—a father is seeking to guide his son away from destructive temptations. We are called as parents to help our children avoid sinful pathways that we know will lead to pain and heartache. However, for our sons and daughters to trust us with their hearts, they need to know that any emotion can be safely expressed.

In the days ahead, I know that I will need to keep a constant watch on my daughter as she enters a new school and faces the challenges of making new friends. Some days she may be happy, but others she will doubtless be sad. The last thing I want is for her to think there’s something wrong with her for being sad—in my sight, or in God’s eyes. My child, give me your heart—your whole heart. You can trust me.

By Ken Roach. Ken is co-author, along with Dr. Patrick M. Quinn, of the book How to Ruin your Child in Seven Easy Steps: Tame Your Vices, Nurture Their Virtues which shows how the tradition of the 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Cardinal Virtues provide an ancient parenting model for the modern-day parent. Patrick and Ken serve on the staff of Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Patrick is a father of three and a foster parent, and Ken is a father of four.


Freedom to Be Flawless – A Devotional Behind “Flawless” by MercyMe

August 1st, 2015 | 1 Comment | Posted in Artist Spotlight

If you’ve been listening to the radio recently you may have heard this new song from MercyMe.

The song “Flawless” is the 3rd single from MercyMe’s latest album release “Welcome To The New” and it’s correlating music video above conveys the powerful message of the lyrics, which paint a picture of the power of God’s grace. Think about flaws you have or maybe even aspects about yourself that you assume are flaws. Your curly hair is uncontrollable. Your child has ADHD. Your past is riddled with mistakes. Last week you were rude to a stranger. Yesterday you lost your temper with your teenager. Today you told a white lie to your boss. These are mistakes and they are not examples of how God has called us to live, but don’t live in shame over intentional or unintentional flaws! God’s grace is powerful and He can transform any flaw into something incredibly pure and righteous.

Here are five ways the song “Flawless” and the music video show us why we have the freedom to be flawless.

1. Amazing Grace is a Super Hero!

The lyrics “There’s got to be more, Than going back and forth, From doing right to doing wrong” describes a struggle that many people go through. God’s grace is not based on what you do – it’s freely given to everyone. We all have a story of struggle. In Acts 4:33 it states, “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” It’s clear that the apostles had struggles and a past too, but their hearts were turned to Christ. They changed their lives and their testimonies about Christ’s resurrection were so powerful because of grace and mercy that covered their past.

2. Pain is Momentary, but Christ is Eternal

God’s grace is made possible because of Christ dying on the cross. The lyrics “The cross has made you flawless, No matter the hurt, Or how deep the wound is, No matter the pain” reinforces the message found in 1 Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” This verse also reminds us that we will experience pain, but we are promised more through Christ.

3. Christ Already Paid the Price for Our Sins

Do you truly understand the power of the cross? The lyrics “Take a breath smile and say, Right here right now I’m ok, Because the cross was enough” are a reminder that we don’t need to remain living in legalism and checking off a list of rules. We are free to become who God created us to be. We will make mistakes, but it’s okay because the cross was enough to cover all mistakes and breath life and energy into what God has called us to do. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that we are saved by God’s grace, not our deeds! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

4. God Gives Us Unconditional Love

Have you experienced unconditional love before? The lyrics “Could it possibly be, That we simply can’t believe, That this unconditional, Kind of love would be enough, To take a filthy wretch like this, And wrap him up in righteousness, But that’s exactly what He did” describe an unconditional love from God that can transform us! We don’t have to walk around feeling like a “filthy wretch” because of our past or what we haven’t done. You are more than your mistakes and God’s grace fills the gaps and Christ secured this before you existed. These lyrics are a reflection of Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

5. God Can Redeem Our Brokenness

One aspect that the video brings out is the uniqueness of our flaws and how they tend to show up unexpectedly. We are all broken in different ways. As shown in the music video, some are born with physical limitations and others develop flaws over time. Flaws can make us feel invisible and become huge burdens we carry. Let’s invite God to make us new and teach us how we can use our flaws for His glory instead of feeling ashamed. God’s grace allows us to live hopefully and experience freedom to be unique, feel beautiful and let go! Let Ephesians 1:7 sink in as you allow yourself to be surrounded by truth: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”

What Does Flawless Living Look Like?

What would you do if you truly lived flawlessly and embraced what God’s grace means for your life? Let God strengthen you. Turn your temper into a prayer for patience. Smile at the stranger who nearly ran into you with their shopping cart in the packed grocery store. We all tend to view aspects of ourselves as flawed but the truth is that God did not make any mistakes when he created you. If you see your uncontrollable curly hair as a flaw, talk to a hair stylist about great styles and products that will help you transform your curly hair into something that you embrace – seek a solution to your burden. Ask God to show you the blessings that you could only experience by having a child with ADHD. Laugh with your teenager and turn a moment of frustration into a moment of memories the next time you feel your temper rising. See how God’s grace can get in and turn your situation around? Nothing is impossible and He didn’t give us grace because of anything we did. Share with me how you plan to live flawlessly today.

Hear the powerful stories from the people in the “Flawless” music video in this behind the scenes piece.

Hear more about the heart behind the song in this interview with MercyMe frontman Bart Millard.

Article by Elise Cleary

I’m a Christian writer and editor residing in northern Michigan and thoroughly enjoy Christian centered music, movies, TV shows and books. A favorite song is “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United and I find many songs by Matt Maher, Tim Timmons, Third Day, Laura Story, Jeremy Camp and numerous other artists uplifting. A few of my favorite Christian movies include God’s Not Dead, The Shunning, Do You Believe and many by the Kendrick brothers. When I’m not writing, I enjoy running, experimenting in the kitchen and spending time with my musically gifted husband and spunky daughter. I am so blessed and in awe of the work God is doing throughout the Christian entertainment industry.


29 Summer Parenting Hacks That Are Borderline Genius

August 1st, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Family

1. Freeze aloe vera in ice-cube trays to instantly cool sunburns.


2. Make an instant beach-safe diaper decoy.


3. Create an easy DIY breakfast station for kiddos on summer mornings.


Love and Marriage Blog will show you how.

4. Keep baby powder on hand to remove damp sand from feet at the end of a long beach day.


5. Blow up a kiddie pool to keep blankets dry while watching fireworks or stargazing.


Damp grass? No problem.

6. Make drip-free ice pops at home by adding gelatin to the mix.


Get the recipe HERE.

7. Alternately, use a cupcake liner to keep dripping ice pops contained.


8. You can also use them to keep your drinks bug-free!


9. Equally clever? Make your own spill-proof cup out of Press n’ Seal.


10. Get a thrift-store sheet and turn it into an outdoor canvas!


11. Use a shoe sorter to keep summer essentials organized in your trunk.


See more at Kids Activities Blog.

12. Build this poolside drying rack.


Instructions HERE.

13. Add magnets to drinking cups so kiddos can keep themselves hydrated on hot days.


14. Turn your deck in to a giant game board.


Let it lead to a day of outdoor activities!

15. Make giant bubbles!


See more at Busy Kids Happy Mom.

16. Keep the fun flowing with a bubble refill station.


17. Fill your cooler with frozen balloons to prevent a meltdown.


Great for boxed drinks, which get soggy soaking in water.

18. Make your own DIY sundial, and watch time slow down.


Find out how!

19. Wash sand and dirt out of toy crannies in the dishwasher.


Also a great way to clean shoes.

20. Use empty wipe containers to carry toys, food, games, and craft supplies on the go.


21. Egg cartons can be used to tote fruit that bruises easily.


22. Beat boredom with pre-labeled “activity sticks.”


Brainstorm a bunch of fun ideas together and you’ll always have inspiration on hand when boredom strikes.

23. Apple cider vinegar can calm itchy mosquito bites.


Orajel or lemon juice will also do the trick in a pinch.

24. Easily create your own soap-boat racetrack.


Lean how at I Heart Naptime. (Aluminum foil can sub in for a wider racetrack.)

25. Convert a bead container to a customizable snack storage container.


26. Use old candy tins to make your own magnetic travel games.


Learn how HERE.

27. Muffin tins make great condiment service dishes.


Also cuts down on dishwashing!

28. Keep your kiddo’s suitcase under control by separating clothes by day.


The ziplocks can double as wet bags for messy clothes needing to return home.

29. Bring a fitted sheet to the beach and say goodbye to sandy blankets.



Geeky Parents take Newborn Photos to the Next Level

August 1st, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

These 34 photos are what happens with geeky parents take newborn photos to the next level.

1  - Help me Mom and Dad, you're my only hope

2  - It'sa me, Baby Mario

3  - Heroes in a onesie

4  - Live long and change me

5  - The gas is strong with this one

6  - Falling asleep in a flash

7  - Let the baby win

8  - Yer a baby, Harry

9  - Nap or nap not, there is no try

10  - With great crawling, comes great responsibility

11 - Do you wanna build a little man

12  - My knight in fuzzy armor

13  - I'm a baby. I'm here to rescue you

14  - When we getting an Xbox One, mom

15  - Doctor Who's cuter than this baby

16  - Justice Leagues takes a break

If you like this photo, please take a moment to like my page:

18  - Nananana, Nap Man

19  - I'm late for a very important nap

20  - No, I am your father

21  - Snow White and the Seven Words

22  - This is Marvel-ous

23  - Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me

24  - What do we do when we fall down, Master Wayne. Cry for mom

25  - Oh, the places you'll crawl

26  - Even the smallest person can change the course of the future

27  - Need a lift

28  - I am Baby Groot

29  - Revenge of the Baby Nerds

30  - Never tell me the odds

31  - I choose you

32  - I solemnly swear we are up to no good

33  - Baby James Harden

34 - R2-D2-Cute