The 5th Type of Mentor

I’m updating a post. Yesterday I posted 4 types of mentors. Read it HERE (updated of course). I can’t believe I missed one…or that no one else caught my obvious error.

I grew up without a close relationship with my father. I missed the investment a father makes in the life of his son. As a result, I’ve tried my best to invest in my sons, but I guess because it wasn’t a great part of my story I missed it.

There is another kind of mentor.

The 5th type of mentor is:

Relational – It’s probably the best kind. It’s the way I am with my two boys. They can call me anytime for advice. They can get through my crazy schedule when no one else (except Cheryl) can. They hold my heart and my desire for their personal success in their hand. I mentored them because they are part of me. A relational mentor relationship happens with someone to whom you are related. It’s the most Biblical kind of mentoring. I hope it’s been a part of your life.

Isn’t that the best kind of mentor?

Do you have a relational mentor in your life? Share that with me here. I promise I’ll be encouraged!

Father’s Day Inspiration

I realize it’s not a modern song, and the graphics may seem cheesy, perhaps even the song to some, but I raised my boys on this song. Well, I didn’t actually raise them with it, but it did have a huge impact on my heart. Music always speaks to me and this songs lyrics challenged my fathering when I was a young father. This song captured the essence of who I wanted to be as a dad. I could still cry by listening to it today.

What is your greatest desire as a father? Be honest. Are you living a life to reach that desire? Be honest.

This is a great weekend to spend some time evaluating your role as a dad.

Is there a song that challenges you to be a better husband or father?

Happy Father’s Day, BTW!

A Word to the Men: From Pastor Ron

The last two years have been a season of change in my life. I’ve experienced a change of perspective as we’ve transitioned into being empty nesters and I’ve experienced a change of passion in terms of where I see God wanting me to invest my energies.

At 47 years of age, I have learned enough to know there are things I wish I had known earlier in life. Reflecting on my role as a husband, father, and leader, I realize how much wisdom is necessary to accomplish all that is required of men. In my conversations with other men, I know that many men never received proper instruction and wisdom on what it means to be a man. I have a strong and growing desire to encourage the next generation of men and young leaders to be men of God in their homes, churches and communities.

Recently I felt led to address the younger men of our church with this issue on a Saturday morning. In a simple, two hour gathering, I plan to speak to men candidly and challenge them to live godly lives in all areas of their lives. The premise of the meeting will be to address the men as if I was sitting with one man, helping him discern how to be a godly husband, father, and leader.

If you are in the area, come join us Saturday, June 18 from 8 to 10 AM at St Bethlehem Christian Church. We have advertised this to men age 35 and under. That’s not a magic age and no ID’s will be checked at the door. We are limited in space and want to make sure I’m addressing audiences younger than me. I’m still learning how to be 47!

Young men, be honest: Do you wish someone further down the road in life would speak into your life?

My Favorite Wedding This Year

This weekend we had the incredible experience of seeing our oldest son Jeremy marry his his school sweetheart Mary. I was privileged to perform the ceremony. It was a beach wedding, which kept the wedding party small, plus the waves kept some from hearing the vows Jeremy and Mary wrote for each other. Several have asked for the text of the ceremony, so I decided to share the main part of it here for family and friends. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Here is what I said in the message portion of the ceremony:

This is a special occasion for us today…..

I’ve never performed a wedding ceremony that was this personal…

As a point of personal privilege, let me say…

Mary, thank you for being the person you are…so kind, so thoughtful, so caring for others…You are the perfect helpmate for Jeremy…We’ve said all along, you two make each other better people…We feel honored and blessed to have you as a part of our family and lives…

Jeremy, you have always been a warm-hearted person…You are highly relational…desiring to make other’s lives better than you found them…We have always said that your future will be bright not as much by what you do, but because of who you are…That’s a great great characteristic…

Jeremy and Mary, your parents are incredibly proud of the young adults you two have become…

Let me say a word to each of you gathered here…Your presence here today is helping to write a story…It’s a story about Jeremy and Mary….When Jeremy asked Mary to be his wife, he said he wanted them to write a bigger story together…Traveling this far…you have demonstrated your love for Jeremy and Mary…This wedding was kept intentionally small…So your role here today is important…it means you’re a leading character…

But it’s really a bigger story than even these two…or even all of us…You see, the story we are writing happens every time families and friends gather for a wedding ceremony…God, Himself, authored the first wedding ceremony…from the beginning with Adam and Eve

You see, marriage is part of God’s master story…It displays a picture of God’s love for us…As a man and a woman leave their mother and father, submit their lives to one another….the man loves the woman as Christ loves the church, and the wife respects her husband, the two are grafted together into one flesh…

Ephesians 5 calls this process a mystery…How two imperfect people…so incredibly different…can become one is hard to understand…God uses the picture of Christ and His love for the church as an example of that relationship…Christ died for the church…God sacrificed His Son for the church…The marriage that honors God is a picture of that kind of mutual, complete submission to one another…So many marriages today fall short of that goal. …

Mary and Jeremy, the biggest story you could ever live is to center your lives around God’s story….allow Him to direct your path…And live your life for a higher purpose…to glorify God with your life….May your marriage be the perfect example of the sacrificial love Christ demonstrated with His love for the church…

We find that love expressed in 1 Corinthians…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a)

Jeremy and Mary, as your marriage begins & for the rest of your lives, may you show that the love you have for each other is indeed part of the bigger story God is writing for the world…a greater love….

Jeremy and Mary wanted to make this a very personal occasion, and they’ve decided to recite vows that they’ve personally written for each other.

Here are the vows Jeremy made to Mary:


I remember when it seemed like this day would never come…
…. Only 7 years, only 4 more years… 1 more year, 3 months, 10 days, 1 day, and now I can finally call you my bride.

Words can’t express how thankful I am to be standing here today. When I stop and think about the qualities I desire in a wife, you exemplify every one of them. You love God and strive every day to know Him more. You have the most amazing heart, and always put others needs before your own. You are beautiful. Your smile brightens my day like nothing else in this world. You love me unconditionally even when I act selfishly or disappoint you. You’re my best friend.

In the presence of our God, our family, and our friends, I make these promises to you:

I know that my life’s greatest privilege and highest calling is to lead you and our family spiritually. I promise to run to God often and ask Him for wisdom in leading our family, so that you will always know that the direction for our family comes from the Lord. I promise to be the husband God has called me to be and to point you towards Him in everything that I say and do.

I promise to make a commitment to die daily to myself and put you, your needs and desires before my own. ….. I promise to intentionally invest in our marriage more than anything else; to dream with you through every stage of life, to celebrate with you during the good times, to laugh as often as possible, to be a listening ear whenever you want to talk, and to stand beside you through every trial we might face.

Finally Mary, I promise to never leave you, because I believe God made you for me and me for you.

From this point on, I am forever blessed to have you, my bride, my one true love, everyday, for the rest of my life. I love you now, and forever more.

Here are the vows Mary shared with Jeremy:


Almost since the first day that I met you, I had a crush on you; and ever since high school, I have loved you. We have been together for seven years and we have been through so much together- good and bad, but I believe that, through God’s grace, it has only made us better people and a stronger couple. I have waited for this day and I have prayed for you for a long time. I feel so blessed that we get to stand here today and promise to spend the rest of our lives together.

Jeremy, I promise to be the woman that God has called me to be- to be the best wife that I can be. I will love you genuinely and i will not take you for granted. I will honor you and respect you. I promise to put your needs, desires, and wants before mine. I promise to pray for you everyday. Jeremy, I will build you up and not bring you down.

I promise to be there for you in the good times and the bad. I promise to be the person that you want to run to with every piece of good news and also to be the listening ear and loving arms for you to run to when nothing seems to be going right. I will stand by you no matter what. The Lord has made us a team and we are in this together. I will be there when you need me. I will not leave you. I promise that you can always confide and trust in me.

I promise to be someone you can be proud of. I promise to always dream of our future together. I promise to laugh with you, cry with you, and to live life to the fullest with you, My prayer has been that Christ would be at the center of our marriage and that He would allow us to be able to serve Him and love Him better together as a couple- that our lives would be used for something bigger than us and I promise to hold up my end of that prayer.

I am so thankful for the man that you are and that God has allowed us to begin this adventure and write our story together. I love you, Jeremy.

Just curious. Did you write your own vows? Feel free to share them with us here. Have you ever been to a beach wedding?

An Empty House = An Emotional Night

It’s been an incredible few days. Cheryl and I returned tonight from Florida where our oldest son Jeremy married Mary, his high school sweetheart. They are a beautiful couple. The beach wedding was wonderful, they wrote their own vows, and God was glorified (I’ll share more about this later). I performed the ceremony and our youngest son Nate was best man. I only choked up once…or twice…maybe three times…but was able to get through the ceremony. It was an incredible experience.

On the ride back from Florida, we stopped in Atlanta to drop off Nate who was catching a flight to Europe, where he is studying this summer. He will study the life of Paul from 1 Corinthians, Systematic Theology and the Reformation, in the countries of Italy, Germany and Switzerland. How cool is that? I walked him in, saw that he made it through security, then we began our journey again.

Cheryl was melancholy, but honestly, I was excited. We would truly be alone this week and she and I love our time together. This is such a great time in our marriage.

Cheryl’s mother and my mother went with us to Florida, so there was plenty of conversation in the car. 🙂 The ride passed quickly. We pulled into the driveway of our recently purchased “empty nester” condo, I walked in the door, and…well…I started to cry. I can’t explain it, but suddenly the reality of two of our bedrooms being empty…perhaps forever…just overwhelmed me for a moment.

It’s been a great weekend…and the past couple years with Nate being in Chicago and Jeremy transitioning out has taught me that this season is going to be okay…it really is. I love my life and I love my wife. That’s a great feeling!

For tonight though…I may still shed a tear…

Where are you at in the parenting cycle? Tell me about your kids!

4 Commitments We’ll Make as Grandparents

This is a premature post. My boys will probably balk at it, but I’ll be honest. I’m a people watcher. That’s especially true when I’m out of town where I don’t know anyone.

This is written while in Florida to perform my oldest son’s wedding. He and his soon-to-be wife have been together for many years, so we feel she’s already part of the family. They say they want to enjoy life together a few years, but we know they both love children, so, even though we would encourage them to take their time, we suspect they’ll have children within the first few years of marriage.

That means most likely we’ll someday be grandparents and it has made me more conscious of what it will be like at that stage of life. Cheryl and I talk about it often.

Today I saw a family out with a grandmother. It was a beautiful family. The kids seemed well-behaved. The parents seemed attentive. The only problem, in my opinion, was an over-bearing, controlling grandmother. Every time the children did anything she corrected them. She consistently over-ruled the parents with the children. She didn’t appear as a loving grandmother, but rather as a family friend who grew impatient with the couple’s children.

I’ve already told my boys, but I feel I need to tell you for accountability purposes. Here are 4 commitments Cheryl and I hope to make as grandparents:

When parents are near, we’ll be silent – In the ideal setting, grandparents should have raised their children to be adults. Their daily parenting task is done and they shouldn’t try to take that role from their children who are now parents.

We’ll be there for the parents – Parenting is hard work. A parent needs all the support he or she can receive. We’ll be in the parent’s corner as grandparents.

We’ll support the parents – Not only will we support the parents, when we’re grandparents, we’ll step away and let the parent’s model for parenting prevail. Hopefully the mark we hoped to make on our children will carry forward, but it will be their job, not ours, to be the parents. (Granted, if there was a severe problem, we’d step in, but if it’s a matter of preference in parenting, we’ll be silent.)

We’ll compete for grandparents of the year – Let’s face it. I’m competitive. This will be one more place I hope to succeed. Hey, it worked for parenting…at least I think it did…why not for grandparenting?

It’s going to be fun being a grandparent.

Are you a grandparent? What would you add to my list?

Are you a parent dealing with grandparents? What would you add?

Have you witnessed, or experienced, over-bearing grandparenting? What would you add?

Advising Younger Parents

I have traveled a fair amount the last few weeks and I’ve been thankful for the opportunities to speak at various conferences and events. When I’m on the road, I’m more of a people observer than normal. I learn a lot about me by watching others.

For example, one night recently I sat at an outdoor concert observing the family in this picture. I hope they don’t mind being the subject of this post. If they are in a witness protection program, I apologize. What I have to say about them, however, is all good stuff. What a happy family! The parents played, wrestled, loved, and cuddled with their two little boys. I especially enjoyed the part of the oldest boy tackling the dad. Sometimes he didn’t know what was coming! I loved watching the surprise attack!

As they went to leave, I felt led to say something to them. I told them I had enjoyed watching them, that I could tell they were good parents, to keep up the good work, and to never take these moments for granted, as tiring as the days can be.

They seemed to appreciate my comments, or perhaps they are just kind to old people who stalk them, but I know from experience that one day they’ll most likely have the same emotions I have when I see a young family enjoying life together.

They’ll think:

  • It passed so quickly…
  • Where did the time go?
  • I would love to experience those moments one more time…
  • We should tell younger couples to enjoy it while they can….
  • You don’t get those moments back….

Or stuff like that…

Share with me, what stage are you at in the parenting days?

What advice would you give to parents with younger children?

Friday Discussion: Non-Negotiables in Parenting

Recently I was reposted my parenting model I’ve called “Grace Parenting”. You can read the article HERE.

One of the principles in my model is to Major on the Majors, Not on the Minors and I stated that there are certain non-negotiables I think a parent should enforce in their parenting. A reader commented on the post, asking, “What are the non-negotiables?”

Great question! For my family, these were mostly Biblical characteristics I wanted my boys to possess as adults, things most people would agree are a part of having a good, moral character.

Things such as:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Love

Each of these are what I consider non-negotiable. There is never an appropriate time not to be honest, not to respect, or not to love.

Obviously, you can’t mandate that your children possess these qualities in their heart…you can make them love someone. I believe you can and should address their actions in these areas and they are issues which were handled more strictly in my parenting. I also know you can mandate that children see each of these characteristics modeled for them by the parent.

Those are some of my non-negotiables…though not an exhaustive list…

For this discussion, do you agree with this principle?

What would you add as a non-negotiable characteristic to implement, teach, and even enforce in parenting?

How did you or do you teach these virtues in your home?

Let’s talk parenting!

10 Commandments: Significance for Today

Have you ever been curious about the 10 Commandments, specifically how we can implement them into our life today? A couple years ago, I wrote a series about each one. I’m a grace guy…if you read this blog much you know that. We are not under the law, but under grace. There are great Biblical principles, however, that these commandments have for us to live better lives today.

Here’s a repost of all of them together…just click on the link:

Ten Commandment Number One

Ten Commandment Number Two

Ten Commandment Number Three

Ten Commandment Number Four

Ten Commandment Number Five

Ten Commandment Number Six

Ten Commandment Number Seven

Ten Commandment Number Eight

Ten Commandment Number Nine

Ten Commandment Number Ten


Which is the hardest for you to keep? Be honest!

What would you add as ways we violate these commandments today or how they have meaning for us still, even in the days of grace?

The Best 3 Things I Taught My Sons

I watched my oldest son make a life decision recently and it confirmed how proud I am of my two boys. He wrestled through it with wisdom and landed on, what I believe, was the best answer to his situation.

The title of this post may be misleading, because I don’t know if I taught wisdom to my boys or if they just saw me seek it and so it became a part of their life to pursue it, but either way, I’m glad they gained the practice.

Here are three things my boys have that I wouldn’t trade anything for:

The love of wisdom – My boys love to learn. They continue, into their 20’s, to seek wisdom from me and others.

The learning of wisdom – My boys not only listen to the wisdom of others, they seek it out from their own experience. They seem to realize that wisdom comes best through the experiences of life….good and bad…so they continue to learn from the decisions they make.

The living of wisdom – I have to be honest, my boys are two of the wisest young men I know. They truly take wisdom and apply it to their life, making wiser choices as they grow in wisdom.

I’m addicted to growing in wisdom. I’m so proud my boys seem to have inherited the practice.

Let’s talk wisdom.

Answer these questions:

Do you love, learn, and live wisdom as much as you can?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how wise are you these days? (Be honest with your assessment.)

Who is the wisest living person you know?