Posted in Books, Family, Kids, Parenting, Prayer, The Word

Family Devotions: Sort Of

While my wife takes on the bulk of the responsibility when it comes to educating our kids, one role that can’t be abdicated by me as a Dad is in the area of Family Devotion. While having a family devotion is not the only way we are to Disciple our kids in Christ, it is one of the main places we can grow our family together.

This does not have to be complicated. It’s best for it to be simple and consistent than to be complex and occasional. You don’t have to have smoke, lights, and musical talent. Neither do you have to have a PHD in hermeneutics.

This is not something I had ever seen modeled before I had a family of my own. I had only read about in a few books (Like Faith Driven Family). I’ve been around Christian families my entire life, but apparently not at the time they were having a devotion. Unfortunately many assume this is what “church” is for. About six years ago, when my kids were between two and eight I started “trying” to have family devotions. The kids would have a hard time paying attention, I would lose my spot reading, and the time seemed more like a wrestling match than a devotion time. The problem was not with the kids, but with my expectations. I was expecting too much. All I had ever seen was the “Church” example. So instead of trying to make it a chore, we tried to make it fun. So here three quick pointers to get you going


Set a time. Nothing happens unless you plan it. For us it’s the first thing in the morning, for you it maybe at night. Develop a family routine so that after several weeks there is an expectation that we are going to do a family devotion. It usually takes us around 10 to 15 minutes for us to do this. Sometimes its longer (because we are enjoying it) and sometimes its 5 minutes in the car on the go (but these are exceptions).


Everyone should be a part. This is not just Dad’s time with the kids. Have mom, dad, dogs and all the babies sitting under the Bible for a few minutes can do wonders for your family. I know this could be more difficult with teenagers, but if you start them young, they won’t know any different.


Keep it simple. We typical Read (the Bible or Devotion), pray and occasionally sing.

When my kids were younger we used the “One Year Devotions for Kids“. (You can download these as Kindle Books and keep them on your phone). These devotions are built around story situations where the kids may learn a virtue or a value. To me it’s important to always to connect these to Jesus and make sure he is the hero.

More recently we use Training Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade (Not on Kindle). It uses the catechisms to teach kids how to respond to spiritual questions. It is broken down into a Monday through Saturday readings that are very short. By teaching the Kids these catechisms, you will give them something to carry with them. We should always encourage participation by asking kids what they think. Never shut them off even when they are wrong. Let them finish their though and gently point out the truth. If you are always correcting their efforts to learn they may become discouraged and not participate in the future (Ephesians 6:4).

Often we will sing. I wish I could play an instrument. But thanks to YouTube we can waste our life, or find worship songs and hymns with lyrics and music all together. We will let one child pick a song and we will watch and sing along.

Here are a few of our favorites (click the links)

Amazing Grace



Finally, I will also often ask if the kids if anyone would like to volunteer to pray for us as a family. Sometimes I pray or mom prays. Other times we ask for prayer request before praying. If one of our kids shares something, we may ask another one of our kids to pray for that request. We want to them pray for each other not just themselves.

I really hope this helps. You will NEVER regret any time spent leading your family this way. It is very rewarding in and of itself.

If you have found other resources of things that work for your family, feel free to comment and share for others.

Posted in Football, Prayer, The Word

The Road Back


As most everyone in our area knows, my beloved Golden Eagle Football team had a perfect winless season in 2012. That’s right 0-12. At one point in the season I wanted to blog, Facebook, or tweet, and make some derogatory comments about “The Fall”, but really I couldn’t find adequate words to describe what it was like going from 12-2 in 2011 to 0-12. However sights and sounds from a cold wet week in Hattiesburg are already showing the changes in attitudes that have come with our new coaching staff. Watching this video challenges me.


Watching this caused me to ask questions about the level of my spiritual hunger. Do I desire God enough that when it’s raining on the inside of me, when I’m dreary and don’t feel like it, that I will rise up go out to Jesus. Will I open up the Word and turn up the music and allow God again to remind me that “I am not my own.” We have a choice here. We can either let our emotions determine our Spiritual life, or we can make a determination to push through the resistance of the things that keep us from growing. It make take extreme measures, but let’s get moving. I’m ready to get on the road, back to the top. -TD

Posted in Ministry, Missions, Prayer, Theology

God is Already Working

It’s been over 25 years since I was introduced to this concept through Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God.” And though it often slips from my memory, I return to it time and time again, to enjoy the freedom of this statement.

For much of my Christian life I’ve been trying to “figure out” what it is that I’m supposed to be doing for God. I lose sight of my smallness on the pages and history and forget the fact that long before I was born God was carrying out HIS plan. I also know that long after I’m gone off of the face of this Planet, His plan will continue.

It’s only when we see our short lives in the context of eternity, can we ask the question, “Where is God already at work?” This is a much better question than, “What do I need to do for God?” The foundation of the Christian faith is that while humanity was “lost” in spiritual darkness, God initiated a plan to rescue us (Romans 5). Now human responsibility follows, but God has been and continues to be the initiator of His work.

As Christians we are tempted to run off in a number of directions and then seek to give God credit for doing something. I think a much better approach is to submit our plans to His, by simply looking at what God might already be doing in the lives of other people. God’s work may show up in the physical needs or spiritual questions others may have. Our job is to remain sensitive these opportunities to join God in what he is already doing (John 6).

So let us ask the LORD to open our eyes to His work that is already around us and stop trying to do noble task in which we give the LORD credit for something that we did.

Posted in Books, Church, Prayer

The Circle Maker – Mark Batterson (Review and Notes)

The Legend of the Circle Maker (Taken from the Circle Maker)

Young children danced in the downpour like it was the first rainfall they’d ever seen. And it was. Parents threw back their heads, opened their mouths, and caught raindrops like they were libations. And they were. When it hasn’t rained in more than a year, raindrops are like diamonds falling from the sky.

It would be forever remembered as the day. The day thunderclaps applauded the Almighty. The day puddle jumping became an act of praise. The day the legend of the circle maker was born.

It was the first century BC, and a devastating drought threatened to destroy a generation — the generation before Jesus. The last of the Jewish prophets had died off nearly four centuries before. Miracles were such a distant memory that they seemed like a false memory. And God was nowhere to be heard. But there was one man, an eccentric sage who lived outside the walls of Jerusalem, who dared to pray anyway. His name was Honi. And even if the people could no longer hear God, he believed that God could still hear them.

When rain is plentiful, it’s an afterthought. During a drought, it’s the only thought. And Honi was their only hope. Famous for his ability to pray for rain, it was on this day, the day, that Honi would earn his moniker.

With a six-foot staff in his hand, Honi began to turn like a math compass. His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical. Ninety degrees. One hundred eighty degrees. Two hundred seventy degrees. Three hundred sixty degrees. He never looked up as the crowd looked on. After what seemed like hours but had only been seconds, Honi stood inside the circle he had drawn. Then he dropped to his knees and raised his hands to heaven. With the authority of the prophet Elijah, who called down fire from heaven, Honi called down rain:

“Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle until You have shown mercy upon Your children.”

The words sent a shudder down the spines of all who were within earshot that day. It wasn’t just the volume of his voice; it was the authority of his tone. Not a hint of doubt. This prayer didn’t originate in the vocal chords. Like water from an artesian well, the words flowed from the depth of his soul. His prayer was resolute yet humble, confident yet meek, expectant yet unassuming.

Then it happened.

As his prayer ascended to the heavens, raindrops descended to the earth. An audible gasp swept across the thousands of congregants who had encircled Honi. Every head turned heavenward as the first raindrops parachuted from the sky, but Honi’s head remained bowed. The people rejoiced over each drop, but Honi wasn’t satisfied with a sprinkle. Still kneeling within the circle, Honi lifted his voice over the sounds of celebration:

“Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.”

The sprinkle turned into such a torrential downpour that eyewitnesses said no raindrop was smaller than an egg in size. It rained so heavily and so steadily that the people fled to the Temple Mount to escape the flash floods. Honi stayed and prayed inside his protracted circle. Once more he refined his bold request:

“Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of Your favor, blessing, and graciousness.”

Then, like a well-proportioned sun shower on a hot and humid August afternoon, it began to rain calmly, peacefully. Each raindrop was a tangible token of God’s grace. And they didn’t just soak the skin; they soaked the spirit with faith. It had been difficult to believe the day before the day. The day after the day, it was impossible not to believe.

Eventually, the dirt turned into mud and back into dirt again. After quenching their thirst, the crowd dispersed. And the rainmaker returned to his humble hovel on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Life returned to normal, but the legend of the circle maker had been born.

Honi was celebrated as a hometown hero by the people whose lives he had saved. But some within the Sanhedrin called the circle maker into question. A faction believed that drawing a circle and demanding rain dishonored God. Maybe it was those same members of the Sanhedrin who would criticize Jesus for healing a man’s shriveled hand on the Sabbath a generation later. They threatened Honi with excommunication, but because the miracle could not be repudiated, Honi was ultimately honored for his act of prayerful bravado.

The prayer that saved a generation was deemed one of the most significant prayers in the history of Israel. The circle he drew in the sand became a sacred symbol. And the legend of Honi the circle maker stands forever as a testament to the power of a single prayer to change the course of history.

For more checkout or check out my notes and summary of the book here.

Posted in Church, Family, Prayer

More Randomness

Me and TJ Watching the \"Tac-tor\"I rented a Case 550 Bulldozer last week to build a road on the lot next to us. It made me feel like a real man! No I didn’t drive it. Thanks Uncle Harold!

Don’t forget: continue to pray for Jason Weathers.

Rick Morton and I are hosting a meeting Sunday to intro to our church.

TJ made his first trip driving by himself yesterday! Well he wasn’t completely alone Ally was in the back seat! No it wasn’t a toy car, it was our mini-van. JJ left it running while they were in there and he got out of his seat and put the car in reverse (Thank God it wasn’t forward) and drove out of the garage and into the hedge. It messed up the bumper but all is OK.

The Southern Miss baseball team is on a role! I got tickets for the LSU game next Wednesday night.

Posted in Church, Leadership, Prayer, Theology

Don’t Pretend When You Pray

We’re studying Prayer Does it make any Difference on Sunday mornings (check out One of Philip Yancey’s quotes from the book reads, “In prayer we should lay before God what is in us, not what out to be in us.” In other words when we pray we shouldn’t pretend to be righteous and that all is well in our world. When you read the Psalms you find people that are ticket off, stressed out, scared to death, lonely, tired, searching, and broken. From these people you never hear shallow prayers. Jesus informed us that God knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:8). Therefore, ” Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Heb 4:16 (NIV) God wants the real us, not someone we’re pretending to be.

Posted in Church, Culture, Ministry, Prayer, Technology

Blogging Bible Fellowship

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve kind of lost some momentum in the last few weeks with my Blog. The truth is I’ve been putting some time in developing a Blog for our Bible Fellowship Group. You can visit the blog at . I’ve also added it to my blogroll below. I think a blog is the perfect place to facilitate a Sunday school, Bible Study, Bible Fellowship, or Community Group (Whatever you want to call it). You can post Study Notes, Surveys, Event Plans, Prayer Request, and More.

One of the difficulties that most organizations have, especially churches, is communication. Typically a church will have a Sunday morning bulletin and maybe a monthly mailer piece and a web site. The problem is people (insiders and outsiders) many times miss the things we are trying to communicate. It’s difficult to get the right information to the right people and the right time for them to make the right decisions. Group leaders can use a blog to “filter” and disseminate information that is appropriate for their group.

A Blog can’t replace personal relationships, but it can serve as a tool that helps facilitate community. Blogs are easy to start and they are free, so recruit a few folks for your community group and start blogging. To get started go to

Posted in Prayer, The Word, Theology

Which Way Should I Go?

Confession – I often have a difficult time determining what God would have me to do. Especially on issues where there are no moral decisions to me made. Where or if we should go on a vacation or if I should make a purchase or maybe where to send our kids to school? I’ve found two verses that often give me comfort when making decisions. These verses won’t help you to know exactly what to do; they just help you understand the fact that it’s OK to not be sure:

  • Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
  • Proverbs 20:24 (NIV) A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?

So if you are struggling with a decision, pray! Pray a lot! Try to be neutral about the decision. Then obey to the best you can understand.

Posted in Friends & Family, Prayer, The Word

We Face Death All Day Long

  • New Years Day a friend and Elder Deacon in our church died while having his quite time with the Lord.
  • The next day a high school friend’s mother passed away from liver cancer. We went to the funeral on Saturday.
  • On Thursday Lizzy’s gymnastics teacher informed us that he had cancer and would be closing down the gym since he had only a few months to live.
  • My friend and co-worker’s Dad has been in the hospital for 12 days recovering from complications from pancreatic cancer treatment.
  • This young man that is a part of our church family has been diagnostic with leukemia.

What do you say? I’m at a loss. ONLY the Eternal Word of Life can beam a ray of hope in the middle of all of this mess.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 (NIV)