Power of Gratitude

It isn’t just for the Thanksgiving holiday

The power of gratitude seems to be well known these days. However, gratitude is seldom practiced. Why do so many people neglect this simple practice when it has so many benefits?

Gratitude has been proven to increase happiness, health, productivity, relationships, and so much more. Gratitude isn’t exactly a magic pill easily taken with a glass of water, but it is rather simple to practice. In this article, I’ll share with you a few of the many benefits of gratitude and how you can easily incorporate gratitude into your daily life.

Let’s first talk about the benefits.

097 – Real Men Connect

Interview with Dr. Joe Martin

Welcome to episode 97 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss how real men can connect with other real men.

I’m honored to share with you an interview I had with Dr. Joe Martin. Dr. Martin is an award-winning international speaker, author, educator, and certified “man builder.” He’s authored or co-authored nine books, including Are you the Man: 201 Lessons I Wish My Dad Would Have Taught Me, The Real Man Spiritual Leader Blueprint, and Gifts & Handkerchiefs: A Lesson in Servant Leadership. Joe has spoken to more than 750 businesses, organizations, churches, colleges & universities, and K-12 schools/districts, and he was voted “National Speaker of the Year” by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. He’s also the host of “Real Men Connect,” the #1 top-rated podcast on iTunes for Christian Men. To find out more about his remarkable story of redemption from abject poverty, abandonment, abuse, and addiction, visit him on the web at www.RealMenConnect.com.

Listen to the Audio

Podcast: Play in browser | Download

Subscribe on iTunes


096 – Should A Christian Drink

My personal story

Welcome to episode 96 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss the question of should a Christian drink.

This isn’t my typical podcast episode at all. You will notice the difference from the very beginning. I know it’s a touchy topic that offends many, but I hope you’ll listen to my personal story and know that I share it with love – not judgment or condemnation.

Listen to the Audio

Podcast: Play in browser | Download

Subscribe on iTunes

Complete Apology

Final elements of apology

So many apologies inside a marriage fall short. Maybe the apology is sincere and unconditional, but that isn’t enough. A complete apology establishes a restoration of the relationship, not just expresses remorse or sorrow.

In many of my opportunities to apologize to my wife, I’ve often fallen woefully short of completing the apology that results in restoration of our marriage relationship. It’s important to understand every offense creates a division in the marriage relationship. The offense may be small, therefore the division is small, but over time the relationship can really struggle from death by a thousand cuts.

A complete apology is the only resolution to the divisions created by offenses. Time can enable us to somewhat forget about offenses, but time will never remove the divide created by an offense. These divisions in a marriage relationship can only be removed by an unconditional and sincere apology that includes these final three elements.

Art of Apology in Marriage

Apology is becoming a lost art, especially in marriage

I’ve done it so much in our twenty-three-year marriage you’d think I’d be an expert by now. However, I still struggle with genuine apologies in my marriage. Unfortunately, an apology is an art, not a science that can be repeated with predictable results.

In one case, I found myself in the situation that I owed Jennifer a sincere apology. I had messed up big. My mistakes had put her in a lonely and stressful situation. I was grossly neglecting my responsibilities as a husband. Additionally, I was abdicating all parenting activities to her. She was in the all too common position of having a negligent husband and absent father.

It took a pivotal moment and gut-wrenching conversation with Jennifer to open my eyes to my mistakes. I had made the mistake of putting other really good activities before my family. The church became my stumbling block. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not suggesting church is a bad thing. My mistake with the church was allowing it to so infiltrate my personal calendar that I had no time or energy remaining for my marriage or family.

That pivotal and gut-wrenching conversation with Jennifer came at a time I was trying to commit to even more activities within the church. Through her tears, Jennifer was finally able to get me to understand how badly I was failing as a husband and father. She didn’t call me a miserable failure, but I finally realized the mistakes I was making and how badly they damaged my family. I felt like a miserable failure.

Upon this realization, I really had only one option. Apologize. Let me share with you the elements of a proper apology. The elements won’t turn an apology into a science, but they will remove much of the mystery in the art of apology.

Why Do We Treat Strangers Better Than Family?

It’s common behavior, but it doesn’t have to be

I’ve watched it happen in our family numerous times. We are caught up in a heated argument among ourselves one second, then smiling, shaking hands, and cordially greeting near strangers the next second. As I’ve witnessed this behavior in our family, I ask why do we treat strangers better than family?

Believe it or not, this is a common and explainable phenomenon. Every marriage relationship will eventually experience the reality of being more polite and pleasant with strangers than the spouse. Parents will tend to be more patient and caring of other children over their own.

Let me share a couple quick examples in my own life. Consider the Sunday morning routine in our home. Church for us begins at 9:30 am. No one in our family is particularly high maintenance and require exorbitant amounts of time to get ready for church. Yet, we often find ourselves rushing across town to get there on time.

I have no patience for being late. Well, let’s revisit that statement in just a moment. My frustration with running late leads to a fierce argument on the drive to church. I’m barking orders at the kids to hurry to their respective areas of the church. Jennifer and I have begun a downward spiral of harsh words that only mutual repentance and forgiveness can help.

But then we arrive at the church. As we stroll across the parking lot into the church, we smile and ever so pleasantly greet everyone we encounter. I even cheerfully great those couples that arrive late to our group Bible study. Clearly, my impatience with tardiness only applies to my family. Similarly, I find myself listening intently and conversing deeply with small children I hardly know. I then rise to my feet and give the command to my own children, “get in the van, it’s time to go!”

The explanation of this common behavior is rather simple. It isn’t that our spouse or children have so drastically changed over time that we now loathe them.

092 – One of God’s Greatest Gifts to the World

An Interview with Stephen Buckner - Part 2

Welcome to episode 92 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we have the opportunity to hear from my good friend, Stephen Buckner regarding one of God’s greatest gift to the world.

Stephen and Debbie Buckner are passionate about strengthening marriages because it’s one of God’s greatest gifts to the world.  They’ve been married for over 21 years and live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
 
Stephen and Debbie’s primary mission is to help local churches build ongoing, comprehensive marriage ministries.  They believe the church is the Body of Christ and the hope of the world; therefore if the dream of marriage is going to be restored, it will happen in, and through, local churches.

They are also seasoned speakers with a presentation style that is fresh, unique, and honest.  They’ve been through more than their share of tough times in marriage, and they are not afraid to talk about it.

Stephen and Debbie founded Hot Marriage, Inc., an organization committed to strengthening individual couples by partnering with churches to build ongoing marriage ministry.

Listen to the Audio

Podcast: Download

Subscribe on iTunes

091 – One of God’s Greatest Gifts to the World

An Interview with Stephen Buckner - Part 1

Welcome to episode 91 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we have the opportunity to hear from my good friend, Stephen Buckner regarding one of God’s greatest gifts to the world.

Stephen and Debbie Buckner are passionate about strengthening marriages because it’s one of God’s greatest gifts to the world.  They’ve been married for over 21 years and live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Stephen and Debbie’s primary mission is to help local churches build ongoing, comprehensive marriage ministries.  They believe the church is the Body of Christ and the hope of the world; therefore if the dream of marriage is going to be restored, it will happen in, and through, local churches.

They are also seasoned speakers with a presentation style that is fresh, unique, and honest.  They’ve been through more than their share of tough times in marriage, and they are not afraid to talk about it.

Stephen and Debbie founded Hot Marriage, Inc., an organization committed to strengthening individual couples by partnering with churches to build ongoing marriage ministry.

Listen to the Audio

Podcast: Download

Subscribe on iTunes

090 – Who Is First Priority In Your Life

It needs to be you

Welcome to episode 90 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss the importance of placing yourself at the top of your priority list.

Husbands and fathers tend to put work and family before everything else in their lives. Wives and mothers tend to place kids, extracurricular activities, and family at the top of their priority list. With all the different aspects of life tugging at every moment of our day, it’s no wonder we so struggle to make time for ourself.

In today’s podcast, I’ll share with you the importance of putting yourself first. Ok, I acknowledge the right Christian answer is to say God is first priority. I’m not going to argue this point, but we must recognize placing God first in our life requires we push aside the other influences mentioned to allow us to spend time with God. A closer relationship with God becomes possible when we make ourselves the priority – He just becomes a part of our taking care of ourselves.

Also in this episode – email question

From: Anonymous

You seem to believe that divorce is nonnegotiable. Why do you insist that those absolutely miserable in their marriage stay married?

Listen to the Audio

Podcast: Download

Subscribe on iTunes

 


Podcast Sponsor

This podcast episode is sponsored by the Call to Me Prayer Journal by Jeannine Moffitt. 

How can Christians transform the daily call to prayer, with all of its challenges, into a purposeful, organized, and enjoyable routine?

Call To Me provides an easy to use prayer journal that helps keep individuals on track and allows them to see their entire week of prayer at a glance. They can organize prayer requests, concerns, and praises into labeled columns across a spacious two-page spread. With plenty of room to journal, they can reflect on answered prayers, continuing requests, or even the impact of certain verses, all in one convenient location.

Along the bottom of each spread, Call To Me includes scriptures speaking to everyday topics that help spark prayer life. The journal’s creator, Jeannine Moffitt, has provided example spreads to nudge hesitant individuals past the starting line until they settle into their own rhythm.

With its beautifully laid out design, many find Call to Me a user-friendly tool for combined journaling and prayer. By taking care of the organization, it allows Christians to focus on the prayer itself and truly enjoy an enriched prayer life.

Jeannine is a wife, a mother, sister, mother-in-law, grandmother, friend, recent cancer survivor, speaker and author. Her husband is a pastor, so she can relate to other women who are also pastor’s wives and all that that brings! She is a woman with a lot of life experiences!  She’s worked in the corporate world and legal field as a certified paralegal. She’s worked in the Christian realm and non-profit arena. She (and her husband) homeschooled for 12 years. She is a recent cancer survivor and understands the difficulties and challenges of dealing with cancer. She can identify with women from varied backgrounds, various ages, and all stages of life.  She likes to use her sense of humor and quick wit to drive home truths that may be difficult to hear and even more difficult to apply!  She enjoys speaking to women and encouraging them to reach their God-given potential and become all God intended for them to be.

No matter where you’ve been—fatherless, abused, abandoned, or divorced—or where you are presently—sick, a single parent, addicted, in financial trouble—you can become the person God intended for you to be.  Jeannine will tell you that our past does not dictate our future. God has a plan for our lives regardless of our circumstances. We have a choice in what we do, and that first, critical choice is to trust God with our lives. He promises when we give our life to Him, He will show us how to live victoriously each and every day.

Jeannine has a passion for prayer and created this journal with that in mind, to help others have a deeper prayer walk with Jesus.

Following Dad’s Footsteps

My very personal challenge to you

This past Saturday I spent several hours sitting atop my father-in-law’s tractor. I’ve worked hard, along with his two sons, to maintain the farm after his passing a couple years back.

But Saturday was very different for me.

As I sat atop my father-in-law’s tractor, it hit me the date was the fourth anniversary of my own dad’s passing. I mentally and emotionally recreated the days immediately following dad’s death, including the eulogy I delivered at his funeral. It forced me to examine if I’m following dad’s footsteps.

In transparency, I’ll say publishing this transcript is very difficult for me. This is the transcript of the eulogy I delivered at my dad’s funeral. Though it is difficult, I believe publishing this transcript is the best way I can challenge you to live the Christian life in such a way that at your memorial service, someone will be able to stand and say “their footsteps led me to Jesus.”