Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Miracle Day

Today we celebrate a MIRACLE:

~ I think most people would say that true "miracles" are rare. I don't think people look back at the timeline of their life and see days that are truly astounding, days they can't take credit for, days they would consider a miracle.

~ My youngest son, "ELI", is among those who WILL have a day like that. It was a day just like this one, 4 years ago. We landed in Colorado after a long flight from China, we exited the plane and that is where it began. One minute he was a small Chinese boy, graciously riding along with two American strangers, Shanna and I. The next minute, the RamFam kids descended upon him with mountains of love and attention and left no doubt, this little army grew by one Chinese boy. 

~ On paper he was already part of our family, but not until that minute did Elizabeth, Hosanna, Benjamin, and Victoria know for sure that Eli was their brother. And, not until that moment had Eli even slightly imagined a life where he would daily be swallowed up in love and affection by his own sisters and brother. As we walked around the corner of the breezeway between the airport terminal and the waiting area, everyone's eyes met. The RamFam kids took mere seconds before grabbing him up, holding him, talking with him, singing with him and playing with him....there was no doubt.....this little guy was in, part of the family. 

~ From that day on he hasn't been able to shed the love, care, affection, help and leadership of his siblings, parents, grandparents, family & friends. We have a very large extended faith & community family. Eli is more popular than any of us. His miracle day opened doors he will likely never be able to quantify. It was a miracle. It continues to be a miracle. God set him in a family and that family will never let him go. Never will he lay in bed alone, never will his medical needs go unmet, never will he struggle with bullies on the playground, (woah to the yupee-nerds who try to hurt him, the RamFam is 5 kids deep and the big brother is 5'9"/155lbs at 13yrs old) never will he be hungry, bored or ignorant. His family hovers over and around him 24/7/365. We play, pray, teach, eat, sleep, travel, work, serve, learn, dream, hurt, heal and live this crazy life...AS A FAMILY.....

~ This may not seem like a miracle to most of us, but try NOT having family for a while, none, no one to call mom or dad, sister or brother, aunt or uncle. 

This is the plight of the orphan............

~ The orphan is a person, with a heart, a mind, a desire to live and thrive. The orphan is a person, with dreams, desires, and needs, just like any person. The orphan is also waiting, they are not waiting to be born, to be alive, to need help, or to figure out what is next. Life has come to them, time will pass, the question is...will they be part of a family or not. For most orphans, this is the one and only question that matters. 

~ I believe an orphan can find a spiritual family by following God as Father and trusting Jesus as Lord. The Spirit of God will comfort him and be his teacher. But, God has set HUMANS and EVERY OTHER CREATED THING in families. Just yesterday, while watching a documentary, the completely secular scientist made the point that EVERYTHING in creation is grouped into families of one sort or another. This is evidence that God's heart is for every man, woman, boy and girl to be in a family. The orphan, as I said, can find spiritual family by submitting his heart to God. But, there will be a part of his life on this planet that never feels right, not because God is not enough, but because God designed this life to be lived IN A FAMILY. 

~ So, what will you do for the orphan. Not ORPHANS around the world, just the one. We get lost in the idea of orphans around the world. My question is more personal, Is there one face, one little hand, one weak sounding voice echoing in your ear, saying..."would you make me part of your family."  I don't like emotional TV commercials, trying to make me sad enough to send money to poor kids in Africa. I do, however, think the situation with kids in poverty, especially those who have no family is sad, very sad. I advocate sending money, giving and going. But, right now, without the sad TV commercial, I ask straight forward, what will you do for "the" orphan. 

~ Four years ago today God fulfilled his own promise, according to Psalm 68. He put Elias ZhangWei Ramsdell in a family. It was and is a miracle, not from the Ramsdell family, but from God. We are merely participants in a greater story, a story of redemption, reconciliation and family. We are broken like every family, so the miracle was not about us, it was about God, His grace upon Eli and His promise fulfilled. Believe Him today and consider deeply, how would God touch "the orphan", if he used you. Give, Go, Adopt, Support, Send something....and you too will have the pleasure of standing back to see the hand of God at work, making a normal day into a Day of Miracles. 

"...A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is GOD in his holy dwelling. GOD "sets" the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing;...."
Psalm 68:5-6a

~~ there is a great story about the "he leads out the prisoners with singing" part of that promise...maybe another post ~~

Thanks for Reading, 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

DATING - according to dad....

“Dating” Introduction

Being asked by my wife to comment on dating was a funny task. The subject is not funny, but her asking me to comment on it within the constraints of a blog entry, now that is funny. Why….

First: I’m naturally long winded, especially about issues I feel passionate about and dating is ….. well….up there on the passion chart…

Second: Dating, in my strong opinion, having been practiced badly over many generations of American history now, has possibly spoiled the “coming of age and growing up” process for tens millions of young people.

Thirdly: Dating, in just about every explainable circumstance is a waste of time, heart, soul and resources. Shanna knows that I feel this way, so it is funny when she asked me to seriously comment....but, she asked.....

“Dating” Disclaimers

Good: Dating is actually fine with me, if we define it differently than most of us came to know it. Some form of dating is actually necessary for a couple to get to know each other and build a relationship worthy of the next step.

Bad: It’s not the dating I have a problem with, it’s the version of dating we have allowed ourselves to practice. My history with dating, girlfriends, going steady and falling in love provided the same types of stupid memories most people have. It failed to provide the proper path for true love, lifelong friendship or trusted companionship. It did, however, provide cycles of “false starts”, that went too far, too fast then flamed out. I don’t miss any of those people, some of them I don’t even remember.

Best: After all the “false starts”, I separated myself from the dating game and spent time learning what God had in mind for these relationships. I then began to think and act differently. This led to the best discovery of my lifetime on earth, my college sweetheart, my best friend, Shanna Touchton-Ramsdell, who said “I DO”, at just the right time.

Real Life: I believe all the things I am saying. But, this does not mean that I teach them well or that my kids believe them. One thing I have done intentionally is to let my kids watch, listen and learn, but to develop their own standards. I pray and hope they believe what I have modeled and taught them, but they have to own their personal revelation of truth, practice it and learn to trust it in their own time. 

“Dating” According to Dad

1. Wait Till You Are Ready - Pray, listen and pay attention to the level of distraction the issue of dating has become, in regards to your pursuit of God and His will for your life. Trust your parents, mentors, youth pastors and teachers. Don’t be in a hurry and wait until dating is a process of going deeper with the right person and not a distracting social habit. “A time to love and a time to hate…” Ecc 3:8, “…Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” SoS 2:7b

2. Date People with Alignment - in purpose, passion, priorities, and agreement in the process of getting to know each other. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. 2 Cor. 6:14 AMP

3. Protect your body. – This is simple, in my mind, no touching. We talk so much about how far is too far, when I think we should be talking about how to enjoy the best physical relationship possible. All touching is not wrong, but all touching does lead to more touching. So, my advise is to limit touching and don’t kiss until you find “the one”.  I know this sounds ridiculous  but what I really hope to communicate is that the physical intimacy enjoyed between two people can be better than most people ever dare talk about. Sexual activity of all kinds, outside of marriage, is less than best, and I desire the best sex, plain and simple.   “let there not be a hint of sexual immorality” Eph 5:3, “Flee from sexual immorality….” 1 Cor. 6:18,

4. Protect your heart. – This is simple for me to know, but hard to describe in a way that teens will accept. It seems too black and white. It really has to do with the emotional relationship, the loyalty and devotion that grows between people through intimacy. One scripture talks about “loving the Lord our God will all our heart,  and with all your soul, and with all your mind….” Matt 22:37 ….this is our first priority. Then we must reflect back to Genesis, to the original design of the marriage relationship. In it we see that a man and woman will leave their mother and father to become one flesh. Of course, there is a physical aspect to this idea, but deeper into the intent of this scripture is the joining of souls, or the hearts. People long to give their heart to someone, but I have found that few wait for the right person. We rush things and give little parts of our hearts to people who are just casual dating relationships, and give up our innocence, purity of heart and true love. When we keep things in the right order, God first, then our spouse, we experience a deeper love than words can describe.  “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

5. Protect your words. – With our words we make vows, we convey blessing and cursing, we share emotions and we let the intentions of our heart out. Two people in a dating relationship will naturally begin to feel things for each other. I believe they should exercise restraint, physically, emotionally and yes, with their words. What if we only told one person that we loved them. Wouldn't that bring more value when we say it? I believe our words are meant to be saved, then shared. I remember the first time I tried to bring up love between Shanna and I. We were in her car, sitting in front of her dorm. I said that we should talk about what was going on between us.....Baam...She got out of the car and went inside without saying a word. In that case, actions spoke louder than words. She knew, I knew, we just did not want to spoil things by saying it….we were in love.  “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” Prov. 10:19  “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts… human being can tame the tongue…..with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:5-9

6. Check your drivers. - Do not be “needs driven” or “flattery driven”. If your personal needs or the feeling of obligations to those who flatter or pursue you cause you to date, dating will send you in the wrong direction. Just be friends, test your heart and your motivation to see what is driving you before dating.

7. Date someone you would marry. - Because I see dating as a committed relationship between two people who already know each other and who could be marriage material, I love the idea of dating a person you know “could” be someone you spend the rest of your life with. If the person is just someone you like to hang out with, just be good friends, stay in group situations and protect your heart, words and body.

8. Build a great track record. - Enjoy the opposite Sex, Build Positive and Fun History with them, develop positive relationships with many people of the opposite sex without dating them. Which means, just be friends….really, I wonder if young people even know how to be friends anymore. The art of friendship without physical obligation or casual sex, sexting or sexual activity has been lost. If friends can share ideas, experiences and fun together without saying too much, doing too much or even feeling too much, friends can go in either direction without baggage, hard feelings, awkwardness or obligation. The couple is free to move forward in joy or to just remain friends. I draw the line, most of the time, between “friendship” and “dating” with the amount and type of “alone time” the couple spends together. If the couple is just friends, then they won’t repeatedly go to the movies alone together. If they ride in the car with friends or visit each others home, while being around others, this is not dating. If either friend demands things from the other, or expects them, just because they spent time together, this is a red flag…run. Otherwise, enjoy friendships with many people of the opposite sex.

9. Going on Dates….is better than just “dating”.  When moving from friendship to a dating relationship, “go on dates”.  Let the alone time you spend together have beginnings and endings. I will explain more in the next point. But, an example is a birthday party at a friends. The boy picks up my daughter, with a plan, with clear communication and with commitment to be where they say they are. They go to the party, stay for the agreed upon time, returning home at a reasonable hour. The Dating Relationship allows the two short periods of time alone or with friends and family to get to know each other more, to enjoy each other and to responsibly share short spurts of life together. The two can spend time at each other’s home, but I draw the line when it begins to look like the couple is “playing house”.

10. Don’t Play House – I believe God has created men and women to want to spend their lived together. To share their homes, ideas, experiences and passions with each other. The problem comes when  young couple moves past the friendship and dating phase, into any version of the “playing house” phase. This provides too much opportunity to spoil the relationship with physical, emotional, verbal and mental exchanges that are premature, in my opinion. Playing House allows a dating couple the freedom to enjoy the benefits a married couple might enjoy without the commitment. For instance. A teen couple might date a few times then get to know the parents. They may spend the day together then watch a movie back at his house. They share a meal, snacks, hanging out then a snuggle on the couch as mom and dad go to bed. They watch movies and text friends together until midnight, spending three or four hours on the couch together with no accountability. I think this is a problem and an example of an activity married couples get to enjoy, not dating couples. I mean, what hormonal teen boy can lay around on the couch with a girl he obviously finds attractive and not move closer and closer to a sexual encounter. If we are “not letting a hint of sexual immorality” enter into our relationship then, extended and late times alone in the car, in the house or at a friends house are not very smart. Another example is bedroom time. Boys don’t come into the bedroom of my daughters, period. When they get married or maybe engaged to a guy, the bedroom can become part of the picture, but until then, there is no reason for any boy to be on my daughters bed or hanging out, outside of my sight, inside my daughters room.

11. Strive for Best, not just good for now Love, Fun, Intimacy, Sex and Private Experiences of every kind are better after two people have counted the cost and chosen the one person they will love forever. Even the experiences of struggle, stress, loss and loneliness are dealt with better when you are in a covenant relationship with one person. Why can’t young people restrain themselves until the “best” guy or girl shows up? Somehow culture has trained us to fear the process of waiting or denying ourselves any pleasure. We think we must have everything we want, NOW. But....,what if sex is better when you wait. 
What if love is deeper when you wait. What if life together is better when you wait to share every life experience together. Don’t settle, don’t be cheap, don’t be easy, don’t feel obligated, don’t give yourself away. Maybe it’s because I have 3 daughters to protect, but these are some ideas I have tried to instill into them from the time they were young. I prayed they would see themselves as special and that every day they would know they are loved, without giving themselves to some young dude, in any way. I encourage them to strive for the best, not just for “good for now” and to operate out of trust that God is preparing that special person for their future so they don’t have to fear and settle…

12. Let It Linger – I really don’t know how to say this well, other than to be cheesy. I believe there is a mystery, a secret passion, a loveliness and joy found in true love. When a boy really likes a girl, or a girl really likes a boy, “true love” may be on the other side of that attraction. The attraction is normal and great, even if it is physical. And if we are committed to the kind of friendship, dating and marriage relationship process I have talked about, you can understand the value of this point. “Let It Linger” means that the couple may be aware of a growing attraction, the X factor that energizes the time they spend together and that thing you really love about the other. The couple that “Lets it Linger” will go home each time they visit without acting upon the attraction they feel. For example: The couple may be physically attracted to each other, but they will let that attraction linger, let it marinade and just enjoy the mystery of the attraction with hopes that one day in the future that mystery will become reality, in a powerful way. I wish young people would value the idea that they are not required to share everything, right away. They can allow someone to be attracted to them and can decide to hold back, even if the other one pursues them or pushes the issue. Shanna and I waited till were married to have sex. I kissed her for the first time after we asked her parents if we could get married and decided we were moving forward as an engaged couple. I can honestly say that our first kiss was the best kiss I have ever experienced. The next few months could have been the beginning of our sexual relationship. Instead, we “let it linger”, the desire, the wonder and the attraction, we just waited. Later when we were finally married, we said “I DO” without going to the honeymoon feeling like, “well, we already did”. Rather, there was a holiness, an expectation, an intimacy that was more than physical. We enjoyed deep levels of trust, intimacy, conversation, planning, dreaming and physical pleasure, because in the end, our honeymoon was about more than sex, it was a fulfillment of the scripture that talks about her leaving her family, me leaving mine and us becoming one flesh. Everything about our honeymoon was better than we had imagined!!!!      I want my kids to wait before they give out their cell phone numbers, to wait before they get alone with a guy, wait before saying I love you, wait before holding hands, kissing or treating that guy like he is Mr. Awesome. Let them wonder and let them grow in desire and be tested by time, circumstance and character. Let it linger and stop being in a hurry.

13. It’s not about rules, It’s about our heart – I want my kids to follow God with all their heart, not just some of it, some of the time, but all of it, all of the time. I’m not raising my kids to be good or acceptable. I’m not raising them to be perfect either. It is not about the perfection of their actions, but the heart with which they live, including Dating. I don’t give them too many rules for fear that they will use the rules to please me and keep me off their backs. Rather, I want them to have a heart after God, and a heart yielded to the plan God has for them in regards to dating relationships. If they do, while they learn and grow, they will remain teachable and will allow me to protect and coach them. They will protect their heart, mind, body and words and will be free to experience the ups and downs of growing without regret. Life will be challenging, so keeping their heart right will allow grace to flow. So, stay away from too many rules and stay away from no boundaries at all. Find boundaries and focus the eyes of your heart on the love and person of God and like I have promised my kids, that it will be worth it, beyond what they can now imagine. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

PARENTS: Widen the Circle: 1a

Widen the Circle: 1a (of Godly Influence over my children)

We have all heard, "it takes a village" to raise a family. Well, there are parts of that phrase I believe, obviously, but other parts I disagree with. I would better state my intentions as a Christian Father over 5 children of different ages, stages and personalities that, "it takes the right village" to raise a family, in the right way. Therefore, we look at the topic of Widen the Circle. 

In this post I want to share a few basic ideas that can lead to a great "widen the circle" effort. When sharing with parents about my own kids, I am careful  not to take the credit and to make it known that many people had a hand in building the children and teens we now see before us. Just tonight, while walking through the my least favorite Wal Mart we ran into an amazing lady who tutors my youngest son in kindergarten. Mrs. H, is a wonderful lady, with her own parenting questions and struggles, but also with a mountain of grace and love, and professional skills that she spends on my son every week. My little guy, Elias, has challenges that make learning difficult, he is blind in one eye and legally blind in the other. Mrs. H made every effort to help him learn and loved him like a mother, she is forever part of the "Circle" that influenced Eli to succeed. NOTE: The wrong tutor, with the wrong attitude, wrong skills or wrong heart, would have been the wrong part of our circle. This leads me the topics for the day. 

Widen the Circle: BY PRAYER (hear and do what God says)
Widen the Circle: BY BUILDING YOUR TEAM (relational triangle)
Widen the Circle: BY JOINING FAITH BASED SMALL GROUPS (the right village) 


Widen the Circle: BY PRAYER (hear and do what God says)

There are no suggestions, ideas, insights, tools, tricks or formulas I can give that work better than prayer. There are assumptions around this idea, I understand that. Matthew 21:13 tells us, "It is written....My house will be called a house of prayer...." So, why not jump on board with Jesus and make your house a house of prayer, but before you get started, let's be honest about these assumptions.....

This assumes we have a relationship with Christ. 
This assumes we have the conviction to pray regularly. 
This assumes we have the faith to believe those prayers. 
This assumes we have the tenacity to keep praying.  
This assumes we are the kind of parent who knows how to pray to begin with. 

So, can THIS "Widen the Circle" strategy go wrong in your home or mine, you bet. It's like shooting free throws. Most people can hit one or two, maybe even three in a row, but few have the experience, skill and confidence to hit more than that, consistently, predictably. 

Prayer is like this for most of us. We pray a few times, but rarely pray it through until we can "step to the line" so to speak, and hit the shot most of the time. So, what's the problem......Well, when we are shooting free throws, there is no real problem. But, when you are talking about effective prayer that causes real results in the lives of our kids, missing the shot can be a huge problem. 


PRAYER = Philippians 1:9 "And this is my prayer, that (My Children's) love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that (My Children) may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God." 

Let me get on my soapbox for a few minutes
Doctors go to 8+ years of school, do a residency and get cutting edge training before sticking a scalpel to someone's chest, he does not "think" he knows what he is doing, he "knows" that he knows what he is doing. 

Airline Pilots put in hundreds of hours of flight time, without 200 passengers on board, in order to perfect take offs and landings. By the time the people climb aboard, the pilot "knows" that he knows what he is doing. 

Why is it that parents, me included, when faced with the sobering responsibility of raising kids, will sometimes just shoot from the hip. We take what is the most precious gift God has ever given us, our kids, and "try" to be good parents. I find this troubling, very troubling, so, for me and for you, let this challenge ring loud in our hearts....PRAY, LISTEN, PRAY, OBEY AND PRAY AGAIN, then PRAY SOME MORE.  

Pray over them for protection. 
Pray over them for wisdom. 
Pray over the friendships they make. 
Pray over the teachers and coaches they will have. 
Pray over the habits and hobbies they will invest into. 
Pray over their eyes, ears and words. 
Pray over their heart and choices. 

PRAYER = Psalm 112:2 "Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed." 

Soapbox dismounted

ACTION ITEM: If your child's birthday is April 6th, set a reminder to pray for that child every month on the 6th. Fast breakfast and lunch, write prayer scriptures on a 3x5 card or make a prayer scripture note on your smart-phone and take 15-30 minutes to pray for them instead of eating. On that day, try to really consider what is going on in their life, who they hang around with, how school and sports are going, etc...and listen to anything God might want you to change. 

REMINDER: You are the parent, you are called by God to say Yes and No, to make good choices for your child, not to do what your child says they want to do. Pray with Compassion, Pray with Faith, and just Pray......when you hear God about how to "Widen the Circle" of Godly influence over your children, follow that voice, not the voice of popular culture, status or fun. 

This leads us to our next blog entry regarding the next foundational idea about how to "Widen the Circle" - Building Your time...

PRAYER = Psalm 17:6 "I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer."

Billy Ramsdell

Monday, May 20, 2013

F I X E R: Connecting Generations


My youngest son, Elias, tells people sometimes that his dad is a FIXER. He has learned at 6 years old, that things break and fall apart. His bicycle, his scooter and the minivan we carry him to school in, all break at times. In turn, he has learned not to whine or cry, but to ask Dad to fix-it. He delights in knowing that I can fix it and uses me as his default at this point. A reality that I find both wonderful and troubling at times.

I mean, do I really want to fix that old busted toy that keeps getting left in the driveway? Not really!  But, the little dude just knows that Dad can fix it, so I have a reputation to protect. 

Recently he watched big brother and Dad fix the ductwork to the dryer. We got into the attic, on the roof, and in the laundry room, it was pretty involved. He was very impressed that we got onto the roof and just assumed we knew what we were doing. In the garage I am putting a playhouse together, using tools and wood. He sees that as fixing. Over the weekend we planted flowers, mowed, killed weeds and cleaned our deck, he sees all that "working with your hands" as fixing, so he asked questions and sometimes helps out. 

This week my father, Billy Sr., is coming into town to celebrate the high school graduation of my oldest daughter. Elias doesn't really know him, so last night I spent time connecting the dots. Connecting the generations can sometimes be difficult when time, space and culture separate families. So, I talked to him about the things my father taught me to do when I was young. Eli remembers learning to ride a bike and watching me fish or work on the car. So, I used those things to connect the generations. 

I told Eli that Pekaw was my Dad, and that he was the one who taught me to be a FIXER. Now I had his attention. He asked 20 questions and found a place in his mind, a box, to put my Dad in. He values the FIXER skills, so he seemed impressed by the teaching my Dad must have done to help me learn how to be such a good FIXER. Now, I hope my dad can live up to his expectations, I'm gonna ask him to help me fix several things while he is in town and........
......Eli will be watching. 


It's just past the middle of May. Kids are getting out of school, summer is approaching, you are busy. While are you busy, take a minute to consider this phrase, it is my personal purpose statement for parenting. Simply, it reads......

Bringing Faith Home.....Passing Faith On....

Bringing Faith Home.....this means my faith is part of my everyday life. I become who God wants me to become before I tell my kids what God wants them to become. I live it, before I teach it. This is not a perfect exercise, but a focus of purpose every day. To live my faith out, in all aspects of home life, right there for my wife and kids to see. 

Passing Faith On......this means I do more than privately love Jesus. It means I take all God has done and is doing in my life and I purposefully, actively and intentionally pass it on, in real life context, to each and every one of my kiddos. I will talk about the how from time to time, but for now, be reminded of this vision and keep it before you at all times. 

I am firm believer in resourcing yourself as a parent. Get all the tools, weapons, knowledge, friends, opinions, advice and help you can get, then pray a lot and work hard. Below are two very important books to read, fast and easy, but important nonetheless. 

The first one from Josh McDowell helps us to understand the condition of the society our kids are being raised in. I believe it is imperative to our survival and success as a parent to have some idea what we are up against when bringing kids into this world. These days parents don't let their kids get dirty, we make them take medicines, vitamins and stay away from soda, but we sometimes forget those things are NOT what will steal, kill and destroy the destiny our kids should spend a vibrant, joyful life realizing. So, take some notes, get your highlighter ready. Josh pulls no punches and gets to the point in this short but poignant little book. 

The second is by George Barna. It is also short, full of lots of one liners and nuggets wisdom. His research is profound, but the most profound to me was the facts about real success in parenting and discipleship compared to the regular opinions of many parents and church workers. I want to see kids become Spiritual Champions, so I use this book to help understand how to move my kids from being followers to leaders. Let me know what you think. 

BEGIN A 3D GROUP. The 3D is a play on words in two directions. First, it means a group of parents that see things in 3D, meaning, real life. Don't get together with parents to read a book and discuss it like you are discussing a book. Get together with other parents to discuss those crazy moments in your parenting adventure when life seems to jump off the screen and really get you. Be real, talk about reality, pray about reality and do life in 3D. Secondly, make your group a process of 3D. 

Discovery, Discussion & Discipleship. 

When Jesus walked from place to place with his disciples, he used this process. He used everyday events and encounters to stop, lead the group in discovery, making them observe and ask questions. He then led to a step of discussion by being rhetorical and conversational. Always he led them in the process of discipleship by teaching and demonstrating. When you gather with other parents, don't be DRIVEN, that is the D that kills groups. Having strict rules or expectations of high level performance is unrealistic. Don't Drive everyone to become perfect parents overnight. Rather, be real and share your adventure, successes and failures, opinions and observations. Let people Discover, Discuss and then be a Disciple and make Disciples with the truth and encouragement they receive. 

Comment here and let me know what you think about any of the 3 suggestions. Email me if you have confidential questions, prayer requests or comments. 

Idea One:     Book by Josh McDowell
Idea Two:     Book by George Barna
Idea Three:   3 D Parenting Small Group