A Surprising Truth About Discipleship

People are different, and because of that, discipleship does not always look the same. It’s not a step by step process, and just because our children have “caught” one area of discipleship we cannot expect the “next” one will come naturally. In this short devotion, I share how we can give room for differences and encourage the good we see growing in each family member.

Revisiting: How to teach Contentment

As we get near Christmastime, its a wonderful time of year to review a perpetual quandary of our modern age: How to we teach our children contentment when they are surrounded by unrelenting advertisements for more and more stuff. Today I revisit an early episode where we talk about a three part strategy for teaching contentment in the home.

1. Teach Perspective

2. Take Responsibility for Others

3. Live More By Having Less 

Revisiting: Making a Plan for Family Holiday Gatherings

We’re entering the season filled with awe, wonder, gratitude, and dread. It’s that time of year where we get to spend time with family we love. Sometimes, we get to spend time with family who are easier to love at a distance. Let’s be honest, just because we grew up together doesn’t mean we now have the same worldview, parenting styles, standards, goals, or aspirations. And sometimes we love every member of our family, and are mostly on the same page as them, but it’s just overwhelming when they all get together at once. Today I give you a handy guide to having less stress, more fun, and perhaps even eternally significant extended family gatherings this Thanksgiving and Christmas.


1. Release yourself from the guilt of thinking you’re going to please everybody.

2. Stop sabotaging the peace of all of the days leading up to your family gathering.

3. Make a plan. Aim to stick with your plan. Walk in grace when you cannot stick to your plan.

“How am I going to calendar these next few weeks with enough margin to not run ragged?”

“How am I going to coach my children for some of the unsavory experiences they might encounter with our extended family?”

“Knowing that I do not trust this particular person in my family, how am I going to make sure that my children are not left in vulnerable situations with them?”

“How am I going to redirect conversations with grace when they go down gossipy or destructive pathways?”

“How am I going to lovingly hold my boundaries when this particular family member tries to guilt or manipulate me?”

“How am I going to love and support my spouse as they navigate the different people in their family?”

4. Intentionally instill a time of personal worship and gratitude, for you and your immediate family.

5. Don’t miss the teaching and training opportunities in your own family. Have honest conversations (without gossip or disparaging) with some of the struggles you’ve had in your family before. Teach them how you’ve tried to love and also live in boundaries. Affirm their feelings if they don’t like some of their cousins. Coach them on how to show love to hard people.

6. Don’t go to your gatherings to “just get through them”, go seeking to be an instrument of grace.

7. Bring your other family members in as best as you can on the plan. If it’s dreadful for you, likely it’s dreadful for other family members. Since you have some time, start talking about how you might intentionally make the time more meaningful as you’re together. Maybe each family can put together a little photo video project of what happened over the last year. Maybe you can plan a service project together. Maybe as a family you can adopt a family in need and work together to provide for them.

8. Think of ways you can be “others first” without feeling resentful and manipulated.

9. Don’t add to your spouse’s stress by guilting them over their family.

10. Pray for your family! 

Revisiting: How to win your family’s heart

Revisiting one of my favorite early episodes, I lay out principles that will help you win the hearts of your family and influence the culture of your home. Based on principles form Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, I share three principles that can help lower defensiveness and increase the willingness of each member of your household to do their best for one another. When it’s all said and done, these principles are nothing more than an exposition of the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. 

Revisiting What if it’s a Category 5

At some point every single one of us is going to experience a Category 5 crisis in our life. When our worst fears are realized, we face the challenge of processing what we believe about God. We also need to figure out what to do next. Today I revisit one of my early LPOP topics, sparked by our preparation for a potential Category 5 hurricane pointed at our town. I now consider the words I wrote in light of our family’s current crisis, the relapse of my son’s leukemia.

Celebrating 250! Answering Questions about Fun, Family, Faith, and Serving Through Suffering

As we celebrate 250 episodes and nearly five years of the Let’s Parent on Purpose podcast, my friend Jenny Price interviews me about my favorite things, serving through suffering, and keeping our family on mission. You’ll learn how Emily and I set parameters to grow in trust in our young marriage. How do I refill and recharge from work and family? Also, what is the most ridiculous, petty thing I would do if money were no object?

Thank God for Your Messy Life

We spend a great deal of time lamenting the messes in our lives: our homes are cluttered, our bank account stressed, and our commitments overwhelming. But the mess is often indicative of the abundant life God has given us. This devotion from Proverbs 14:4 reminds us to be thankful in the midst of the mess as we look forward to the day when Jesus ultimately makes all things new.

Understanding and Responding to Teen Substance Abuse with Richard Capriola

One of the greatest fears shared by moms and dads around the world is their child becoming addicted to drugs. While the motivations for using and abusing alcohol and drugs have largely stayed the same, the actual substances continue to evolve, and their availability keeps increasing. Richard Capriola is the author of The Addicted Child: A Parents Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse. He joins me to talk about the brain changes that happen with drug use, the most prevalent substances used by teens today, what to do if you find your teen using, and where to go for help if your child is addicted.

What If My Child Hates Church?

One of the most common conversations I have is helping parents determine what to do when their child doesn’t want to come to church. The reasons are as varied as the child, and we want to make sure we understand why they might hate church before we jump to our response. Today I go through many different reasons why our children might not like church, as well as several possible solutions for you to encourage their love of the church and enjoyment of the services.