Parenting Lessons From Snoop Dogg


I’ve got to hand it to Snoop Dogg. He did way better than a lot of other parents.

Snoop’s son, Cordell Broadus was an elite high school football player. So elite that UCLA offered him a scholarship to play for them. Broadus took the offer but he’ll never play for the Bruins. It’s not an injury or a lack of ability that’s keeping Cordell off of the field.

It’s his heart.

When I first heard about Broadus leaving the team, I wondered what the young man could be thinking. He gets to go to a good school for free. All he has to do is play football. It seemed like such a waste to me.

And then came the rest of the story. Broadus recently took to Instagram to explain his decision. Every parent should read his words.

“I played football for my father because I thought that was the only way he would love me & be apart of my life. It took me 12 years to realize he loves Cordell Broadus the person not Cordell Broadus the football player.

The best day of my life was when I heard those exact words; I love you dad hope you have a great birthday.”

Cordell was playing football for his father’s love.

What about your kid? Is her hobby a passion or is it her bid to win your love and acceptance? Is your son playing ball because he loves it or is he playing ball because he wants you to love him?

Twelve years is a long time to do something in order to earn the love of a parent. The Internet has lashed out at Snoop for being the typical overbearing sports parent. I don’t know enough about Snoop the father to make a judgement on that. All I can say is that at least, even after twelve years, he expressed unconditional love to his son. Many kids wait a lot longer than twelve years for words like that to come from their parents. Sometimes, those words never come.

Parents, maybe you have a busy weekend of shuttling kids back and forth to games, practices and recitals. That’s good. But at some point today or tomorrow, sit your kids down and tell them that you love them, even if they quit the piano cold turkey or never pick up a ball again. The next twelve years of your kids lives should not be spent trying to appease the performance gods otherwise known as mom and dad.

Whatever your kids are into, you should be into it too. And you should help your kids strive for excellence and whatever their sport, hobby or talent is. When they want to quit halfway through the season, don’t let them. Talk to them about the importance of giving their all. Let them know how much you like watching them and how proud you are of them. Cheer when they do well. Encourage them when they don’t.

All of that is important. But it’s not all they need to hear.

Your son needs to hear that you love him, not just the football version of him.

Your daughter needs to hear that you love her, not just the piano playing version of her.

Ask your kids if they enjoy what they do. It is possible, you know, that you enjoy their hobby more than they do. This should not be the case. Your love for them should be strong enough that if their passion doesn’t match yours, you love them anyway.

If your kid decides to walk away from his sport or hobby, it might crush you and the dreams you had for him.

But if your kid keeps doing a sport or hobby so that you’ll really love him, it will crush him.

So parents, let your kids know that it is okay for them to hang up their football cleats in middle school so that they can pursue their passion for the marching band. Even if the marching band isn’t your passion.

Because if you really love your kid, it will be.

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Encouraging News About The End Of The World


Somewhere along the way we missed the point. We got so caught up in the details that may or may not be true that we forgot about the most important part. Our ideas about that day have been shaped more by movies and novels than they have by the Bible. As a result, we have become like a bunch of Christmas carolers who are all caught up in the festivities of the season but have no idea what they’re singing about.

I started hearing about the return of Christ when I was a teenager. At least that’s when I started paying attention to what I was hearing. That’s because there were movies involved. The movies I saw about the return of Christ appeared to be filmed in the 1970s using video equipment from the early days of the Soviet Union. There were a lot of bell bottoms, feathered hairstyles and people screaming. A lot of people screaming. And that wasn’t just in the movie. After the showing was over, there were usually two or three of us who would run out of the building screaming.

That was the major impression that was left on me when it came to talks about the return of Christ.


To be fair, there are plenty of people who should be afraid of the return of Christ. For nonbelievers, it will be a day of wrath. But for followers of Christ, it will be a day of hope realized.

That’s the part that we forget.


Churches have split up over arguments about the end times. Legitimate Christians have lived in fear of the AntiChrist coming for them and all of their sins being displayed on a giant movie screen for the world to see.

There are good people who really love Jesus but who have differing views on how the end times will play out. It is not the purpose of this post to explain all of that. Instead, I would like to remind you of what Paul told the believers in Thessalonica after sharing only a few details about the return of Christ.

Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (ESV)

Not scare one another.

Not debate one another. l

Just encourage one another.

Again, debate and fear do have their place in end times discussions but they are not the substance. Jesus is. And he is our hope. He is the reason for our encouragement.

If our end times discussions do not end in Christ, the conquering King who has come to make all things eternally right, we are missing the point. We are missing our real reason to be encouraged.

At the return of Christ, there will be no more school shootings, wars, car accidents, tumors or abortions. Death will be no more (Revelation 21:4). Be encouraged.

When Christ returns, there will no longer be a need for jails or those lawyers who advertise no fault divorces for $300 (Revelation 21:5-8). Be encouraged.

When Jesus comes back for his people, we will finally know what it’s like to live under the authority of a perfect and compassionate Ruler whose government knows no corruption (Revelation 21:22-27). Be encouraged.

When Christ returns, we will no longer have to fight against Satan’s schemes (Revelation 19:11-21). Be encouraged.

And best of all, when Jesus comes back, we will live with him.


So be encouraged.

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (ESV)

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The Most Confusing Religion On The Planet


There is one religion that confuses me more than any of the others. It’s not Islam, Mormonism or even Scientology. All of those are wrong and, to varying degrees, weird but they are no match for liberal Christianity.

Liberal Christianity is the belief in, well, nothing really. There are liberal Christians who deny the virgin birth, doubt the resurrection of Christ and only believe about 30% of what the Bible says. And, for whatever reason, they still call themselves Christians. For centuries, everyone else has been calling them something else. Non-Christians. Maybe even pagans.

This is why it’s so confusing. If you only believe part of what Jesus says, how do you decide which part? The Internet? If Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin and if his bones are still somewhere in the Middle East, why should we care today about what some crazy man who claimed to be God had to say? And finally, if Jesus is still in the grave and we can only trust a third of what we read about him in the Bible, why bother with church? If this life is all that there is to this life, shouldn’t we be spending our Sunday’s recovering from a weekend of partying instead of sitting in a pew? Come to think of it, that might be the norm for some.

When we only believe some of what Jesus said, he is reduced to the ace card up our sleeve that we only pull out when we need to prove a point. And who needs a Lord when you have one of those?

Many people my age who grew up in conservative churches were essentially taught that the twelve disciples were all Republicans who wore American flag lapel pins on their robes. Eventually, we grew up and realized that none of that was true. But some, in leaving the false teachings of the Republican churches of their childhood, simply embraced a more liberalized version of the same error. So now, their Jesus spent his days drinking free trade coffee and fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

The churches they grew up in fought hard against abortion. But today, many liberal Christians pray blessings over Planned Parenthood facilities. Others remain silent on the issue, choosing to love instead. Everyone appreciates love but there are a few million babies who would really appreciate love with some action. Sadly, this doesn’t fit into liberal Christian theology. They only embrace social justice issues previously approved by the American left. That’s good luck for Columbian coffee farmers. Not so much for the unborn.

The burdens of the GOP Jesus and the socially liberal Jesus, while different in appearance, still weigh us down all the same. Such is the danger of reading our culture, our politics and our desire to be liked into the Biblical text. Folks on both sides as well as those in the squishy middle would be much better off allowing the Bible to shape them instead of the other way around.

It has been said that the Holy Roman Empire was not holy, Roman or an empire. I think that the same could apply to liberal Christianity. A liberal, at least in the classical sense of the term, is one who values individual freedom and a limited role for government. A Christian is one who believes that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the perfect God Man as presented to us in the Bible.

It is clear that the words liberal and Christian probably aren’t the best descriptors for those who claim to love Jesus and yet deny most of what the Bible says about him.

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To The Mother Of The Baby Who Won’t Stop Screaming In Church


Dear mother of the baby who won’t stop screaming in church,

I know that it must be hard for you. I’m sure that you feel like everyone in the building is looking at you. Some of them probably are. You want to be a part of the worship service but your baby doesn’t. Where do you draw the line? At what point do you get up to leave?

You don’t.

Well, at least not as quickly as you may think. I realize that there are times when you just have to take your kid out. But at least while I’m preaching, I’d rather your baby and her funny noises stay.

I’ve been preaching long enough to hear my share of annoying and distracting noises during worship services. I’ve heard the sound of older kids whispering. That’s distracting. I wish they would leave.

I’ve heard the sound of cell phones. I’ve heard one go off while Taps was being played at a funeral. I’ve even had a guy answer his phone when it rang during one of my sermons.


“I’m in church. Call back later!”

That was distracting. I wouldn’t have minded if he had left.

I guess this means that I’m not the greatest preacher in the world but I’ve even heard the sound of sleeping while I preach. You know, loud snores, heads hitting pews and that sort of thing. It would have been okay with me if those folks would have walked out and found the nearest bed.

All of these noises are distracting and annoying. But there is one sound that is even more distracting and annoying and it has nothing to do with your baby.

It’s the sound of silence.

Don’t get me wrong. Silence has its place, especially in a worship service. But I’ve been in plenty of churches where the sound of a crying baby hasn’t been heard in decades, even in what used to be the nursery. When I hear your child cry or make some weird noise, it reminds me that the church has a future.

I can’t think of a better place for your kid to be, as fussy as he is, than in the presence of other believers who are singing songs to Jesus and listening to the preaching of his word.

I am confident that God will give you wisdom on when exactly you need to take your baby and his crazy noises out into the parking lot. In the meantime, don’t worry about distracting me while I preach and certainly don’t worry about the lady who keeps turning around and making devil faces at you.

That cute little bundle of energy, tears and screams will one day be too big to sit on your lap. Maybe later on in life he’ll even be a leader in the very church where he made noises as an infant. If so, I hope that he’ll remember some of what I said years before when he was fussing on a Sunday morning.

If I never hear another cell phone go off again while I’m peaching, that would be okay.

But if I never hear another crying baby while I preach, I don’t know if I could carry on.

So keep your baby in the building. He needs to be a part of what’s happening. And our church needs to be reminded of it’s future.


Your Pastor

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Ping Pong Ninja

Over the weekend, I got to play some ping-pong with an old friend. I didn’t have a paddle so I had to use what they had laying around. I was able to do a few other tricks too. Many thanks to the folks at Nokia for coming out to film us. I’m so humbled by this.

I Am A Hypocrite

A true hypocrite is one who sees the hypocrisy in others but never in himself.

For years, accusations of hypocrisy have been directed toward the church. People say, “I’m not going to church because it’s full of hypocrites.” And it most certainly is. There are churches with pastors who preach one thing and do the opposite. There are even churches that have taken their hypocrisy to such levels that they would be doing society and the Kingdom of Christ a favor by shutting down. In fact, no church, no matter how good, is a hypocrite-free zone.

But is that different than any other area of society?

Sports fans yell at a TV telling their favorite player to run faster while they lay on the couch knowing that it would cost them a full five minutes and possibly a heart attack to get up and run to the refrigerator and back.

Media outlets talk a big game about feminism while at the same time producing and promoting art that treats women as nothing more than sex objects.

Politicians give us elaborate, impassioned speeches informing us that guns are bad and we are bad if we want them. All the while, they are surrounded by security guards with guns.

And, of course, if you were to walk into a Wal-Mart at this very moment you would hear a woman screaming. And why would she be screaming? She would be screaming at her small child to, you guessed it, stop screaming.

So the church doesn’t have the market cornered on hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is everywhere. Even in the church. And as the pastor of a church, the hypocrites are exactly who I want coming.

Guess where one of the dirtiest places in your restroom is? It’s probably not where you think. You know that really expensive soap dispenser you bought at the mall? The one that shoots out soap smelling like a meadow. The part where people put their hands to push the soap out is one of the dirties places in your entire house.

That’s odd, isn’t it?

The place with the most germs is the place where dirty people come to get clean.

To be clear, simply going to church doesn’t make anyone clean. But it is in church, at least a good one, where we learn about the depth of our impurity. That’s the real reason why some people don’t like coming to church. They’d rather go on thinking that they’re better than they really are. That’s the very definition of hypocrisy.

A good church doesn’t just remind us of how depraved we are. It also shows us how loving Jesus is. Nor does a good church allow us to settle in our depravity and place our identity in it all in the name of love. It comes along side us, bears our burdens and helps us to keep step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25 and 6:1-3).

I am a hypocrite.

I’m especially reminded of that whenever I preach a sermon about God’s holiness of Jesus’ love.

I am a hypocrite.

But I know it.

And a few times every week, I love being with other people who are well aware of their own hypocrisy.

Together, we lean hard on Jesus and worship him for saving people like us who aren’t good enough to save ourselves.

I am a hypocrite.

But I’m not content to stay that way. I can’t think of a better context than the community of believers otherwise known as the Church to do the hard work of kicking my habit.

I am a hypocrite.

What about you?

But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13 (ESV)

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To Become My Brother


I started praying for him before he was even born. Every night when I put him to bed, I prayed the same prayer. I asked God to save him.

God did.

It had been a long day. The kids were finally in bed and it was time for me to do the same. But just a few minutes after I closed the door to their room, I heard the voice.


The word dad was really drawn out.


And loud.


This isn’t what I wanted to hear. Like any good pastor, I got up and walked to my son’s room with a holy look on my face while thinking evil thoughts to myself.

“Why can’t he just go to sleep?”

“Doesn’t he know that he’s cutting in on my time?”

Thankfully, before any of that ever came out of my mouth, my son spoke. He told me that he had some questions.

“Questions about what?” I asked.

That’s when he lost it. Tears filled his eyes and his sobbing made it hard for me to understand him.

“I want to know how to become a Christian.”

Now I really felt bad. The day I had been praying for had finally come and I was complaining about it because it was cutting in on my personal time. I was really glad that the evil thoughts that were in my heart were never verbalized.

I got my son out of bed and grabbed a Bible.

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

We read that verse and then we talked about sin, forgiveness and Jesus being the boss. And then we prayed.

When my wife found out that she was pregnant with my son several years ago, we were excited. Financially speaking, it probably wasn’t the best time for us to be having a baby but we didn’t care. Besides, on paper, is it ever really the best time to have a baby?

On her first visit to the doctor after finding out that she was carrying our son, my wife was told that something was wrong. She had lost the baby.

We were devastated.

But then the doctors told us that they had made a mistake. My wife really was carrying our baby. We were excited again. And a bit apprehensive about our doctor’s methods.

Everything came as a shock to me. The pregnancy shocked me. The false diagnosis about a lost child shocked me. The correct diagnosis shocked me. And my son’s salvation shocked me. Even though I had been praying for it for all of these years. None of it, however, came as a surprise to God.

Long before I found out, God ordained that I would have a son.

And long before that night when my evening routine was interrupted by God’s grace, God chose to save my son.

All along, God had a plan for my son to become my brother.

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Essential Oils And Essential Freedom

The Preamble of the Constitution of the United States is written on the exterior walls of the National Constitution Center.

On September 22, 2014, Gary Young received a letter from the Food and Drug Administration. You may think that that has nothing to do with you. Your name isn’t Gary Young and you don’t have any dealings with the FDA. In reality, this letter could impact the freedoms that you enjoy as an American citizen.

Gary Young is the founder and CEO of Young Living Essential Oils. Over the past few years, essential oils have been popular natural remedies for treating anything from sore throats and cancer to dirty counters in the kitchen. Many people claim to have benefited from essential oils and that’s what got the FDA’s attention.

People have been telling their stories on social media. Some even have Facebook accounts used for selling essential oils. The FDA took notice of those posts. And you thought that the guy from high school stalking you on Facebook was creepy. Well, it turns out that he got a job with the FDA. The government organization decided that it was time to send a message to Gary Young and those who benefit from the services he provides. That message was clear. What you’ve been doing needs to be regulated by us. Or else.

Or else?

What could the FDA possibly do to a guy who just sells peppermint oil.

Probably the same thing they did to an Amish farmer who sold raw milk to his neighbors. That is, raid his property with heavily armed U.S. Marshals and state troopers. You know, all to protect the public from the dangers of lavender oil.

Here’s the thing with essential oils. While they certainly aren’t a cure all, they work. I’ve seen it. They make fevers go away. They help with certain side effects of cancer and arthritis. And yes, they can even be used to clean the kitchen counter.

But what if they didn’t? Pretend with me for a moment that the whole essential oil craze was a sham. Would that then necessitate armed guards coming in to someone’s home and taking away their inventory? Of course not. If it did, those same agents would have to forcibly remove over half of this country’s prescription drugs from homes. You know, those FDA approved chemicals that are great at covering symptoms while doing nothing whatsoever for the actual problem. Yeah, the ones with commercials where more time is devoted to informing you of the potential risks than the so-called benefits.

I know a guy whose job requires him to be one of the first people on the scene when someone in his community dies. One day he was telling me about the number of those deaths that are caused by drugs. In the community where he lives, none of those drug related deaths have anything to do with heroin or cocaine. No, most of them are related to pain killers. FDA approved pain killers. For the record, there have been no deaths caused by too much oregano oil.

The issue here is control. That’s why the same government that likes to tell us that a woman killing her baby is a matter of her body and her private business wants to threaten a man with force for selling you peppermint oil. The FDA can’t have people getting healed apart from the government’s infinite wisdom. If that started happening too much, well, people just might realize that we don’t really need the FDA as it currently exists. And trust me, the FDA as it currently exists doesn’t want that to happen.

One of the more popular essential oils is called Thieves. As legend has it, in the 15th century, four French thieves were caught robbing the dead and dying of their riches and they managed not to catch any of the diseases carried by those they had robbed. In return for a lighter sentence, the judge asked them for their secret. How did they manage to not get sick? It was the blend of clove, rosemary and other botanicals that protected them. Thus the name thieves.

Centuries later, that blend is still protecting people from illness. But the people also need protection from the thieves who wish to steal our essential liberties along with our essential oils. Thankfully, our protection has been in place for a couple of hundred years now.

If only our government would pay attention to it.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Amendment IV, The Constitution of the United States. 

So the next time you have a stuffy nose, look for some peppermint oil to rub under your nose. But if anyone from the FDA asks you where you got it from, tell them that Hillary Clinton sold it to you on her Facebook page.

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The Talk


Almost every parent dreads the day. Some completely avoid it. But if you care about your child, you won’t. In fact, you’ll have the talk with your kid as soon as possible.

The talk, of course, is that conversation that parents are supposed to have with their kids about sex.

The typical approach of putting it off for as long as possible only to tell vague stories about birds and bees has been a complete disaster. It has left us with generations of kids whose understanding of sex has been shaped by emotion, television and/or whatever member of the football coaching staff lost that year’s bet and had to teach 8th grade health. What could possibly go wrong when your view of love, sex and marriage is shaped by the local public school and the cast of Teen Mom 2?

It turns out, a lot.

I can’t tell you at what age you need to talk to your kids about sex. Every kid is different. What I can tell you is that you need to have that talk early. But where do you start?

Here’s a good place.

“What do you know about sex?”

You’ll get two types of answers to that question.

Your kid could tell you that he knows a little bit about sex. If you haven’t talked to him about it before, that means that you’ve got some deprogramming to do. And prayer. A lot of prayer. A little learning is a dangerous thing, especially when a child is the one doing the learning, the culture is the one doing the teaching and sex is the subject.

The second answer still involves prayer but it’s a much better scenario. When you ask him what he knows about sex, you’re kid will look at you like you just asked for his opinion on quantum mechanics and he’ll tell you that he doesn’t know anything about sex.

“Sex? What’s that? Could you please pass the Fruit Loops?”

Rejoice and be glad! He is still a blank canvas.

Talking to your child about sex is awkward. For you. But if you’re the first one to talk to her about it, it won’t be awkward for her. Remember, she has no idea what it is. And that’s a good thing. It’s your job to teach her what the Bible says about sex as well as where and why the world is so wrong about it. But trust me on this, if you think that talking to your ten-year-old daughter about sex is awkward, try waiting until she’s 16 and has already had her mind shaped by the programmers at MTV and her heart crushed by the predators in her history class.

Safe sex is a myth. The entire philosophy is built upon the idea that sex is purely physical. Sex is just as much an act of the heart as it is a function of the body. They can make pills to keep you from getting pregnant and devices to keep you from catching a disease but there is no pill or condom that will protect the human heart. That’s where parents come in.

Parents, if you’re doing your job and if your kids are listening to what you say, they won’t need condoms and pills. You will be the only protection they’ll ever need. And it starts with a slightly awkward conversation.

If you have the talk early, it will probably be a quick conversation. The idea isn’t to tell your kids everything there is to know about sex. Rather, your agenda should be to teach them the truth about sex early so that the continual barrage of lies they will encounter will be easily exposed for the foolishness that they are.

Parents, you should be the first ones to talk to your kids about sex. And that first talk shouldn’t be the only talk. It should be the beginning of an ongoing conversation. But that won’t happen if you procrastinate or pass your job off onto your kid’s school.

You may not know what to say at first.

And it might be awkward.

But these are sacrifices worth making so that your son will not have to navigate through the deadly deceptions about sex all alone.

And be sure of this.

The navigating will likely begin at a much earlier age for him than it did for you.

So have the talk already.

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