Make Tomorrow Better Today

bigstock Happy family having roast chic 13921556

Special Feature

Jane sat staring at the floor. “If only, I could go back and do it over. I didn’t think it would be this way. Somehow time got away from me.” 

Like Jane, we go through life not always thinking about the future. We may not consider how our actions today will affect us- and others- tomorrow. It is not unusual to reminisce and encounter phases of happiness, victories, disappointments, and regrets. As much as we would like to change the past, there are some things we cannot reverse. However, we can choose to make the most of today for the good of our families. 

Evaluate Priorities. Do your priorities include investing time with your children? You probably have heard this statement: “Enjoy them now because they grow up fast!” Unfortunately, we cannot retrieve lost time. But we can determine today to be available for our children- to play with them, listen to them, and teach them about Christ. When you are with them, learn what they like, what makes them smile, and their idiosyncrasies. Let it be your goal to make tomorrow better without if only.

In the article, “The 5 Things People Regret Most On Their Deathbed”, Business Insider highlights the research of an end-of-life nurse. The second greatest regret expressed by her patients was, “I wished I hadn’t worked so hard.” They reported remorse over missing their children’s youth and their spouse’s company.

There is a Time and Season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” This Scripture reminds us there is a time for various aspects of life, relationships, work, and other obligations. There is also a time to think of others above yourself. The events of life do not happen by chance. They are orchestrated appointments under the hands of Almighty God. 

Embrace the opportunities you have to engage your family. As the four seasons come and go, so do the seasons of life. Choose to be faithful and productive now. Learn to make the most of the mundane, the celebrations, and the ebbs and flows of life. Do not be like Jane, who looked back with regrets. Think about how you utilize your time and decide to live each day with purpose. The clock of life advances one second at a time. Use each one wisely.

-Vanessa Jones

Vice President & Co-founder of Biblical Marriage Institute

www.BiblicalMarriageInstitute.org

bigstock Cheerful grandchildren spendin 367540495

Senior Scene

The second Sunday of every September is National Grandparents Day! It was signed into law in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan as a day to honor the legacy and celebrate the importance between grandparents and their grandchildren. However, within the Christian community, there is a Grand Switch at play. The Christian Grandparenting Network (CGN) took the initiative to take this National Holiday and turn the focus from the grandparent into a Grandparent’s Call-to-Prayer.

Do you remember a grandparent that prayed for you? Can you see where your life could have taken a vastly different turn without those prayers? Did those prayers make an unseen difference in your life? Or perhaps, you didn’t have a grandparent’s prayer behind you. As a Christian grandparent now, can you see the difference prayer could make in the life of a grandchild?

Our grandchildren face a world vastly different and challenging than from our years growing up. Peer pressure, bullying, social media, gender crisis, addiction, abortion, family crisis, and sexuality are household words in their culture. Often, trying to put words into our heartfelt prayers for them is difficult. The need is so great. However, we have God’s defense and justification in our call to stand in the gap for our grandchildren. Here are four things to remember

1. We are invited to bring our concerns for our grandchildren before Him. 1 Peter 4:7 (Amplified Bible) says, “Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].” 

2. He is greater! It’s easy to forget the truth of 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

3. A continuous invitation is found in Matthew 7:7, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

4. And a Promise from Matthew 7:8, “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Find more prayer encouragements at www.grandparentingwithapurpose.com or www.christiangrandparenting.com

-Cynthia Moss

Director of GrandLife, Shades Mountain Baptist Church

bigstock Young Romantic Couple Dancing 453965077

Special Feature

I admit it. I am a fan of classic movies. Some of my favorites are the period films- particularly the ones in which men were tough and chivalry was esteemed. Cheesy, I know, but pass the popcorn!

Husbands, would your wife describe you as chivalrous? Does she love it when you open doors for her or pull her chair out at the dinner table? I hope your answer is a resounding yes. But is this all your wife wants from you? Is it possible she desires a deeper level of gallantry? In nearly forty years of working with married couples, I consistently hear wives expressing their desire to feel secure in their marriages. They want a man who will honor and protect them physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

A Different Kind of Valor. Most men will physically fight to defend their wives and families. But, how many will fight to protect their wives emotionally and spiritually? The bar is high for Christian husbands. As Christ is the Savior of His bride (the church), so the Christian husband is to be his wife’s savior (little “s”). Ephesians 5:25-26 explains, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”

Biblical valor may require a husband to rescue his wife from imminent danger. But often, it needs him to be proactive. It requires him to pursue his wife with gentleness, kindness, and tender care—expecting nothing in return. It requires him to place her needs above his own. It requires him to model Godly character for his family.

Take Action. Here are five simple ways to safeguard your wife emotionally and spiritually:

  1. Pray for her consistently and persistently. Text her nuggets of wisdom from God’s Word.
  2. Speak up when anyone defames her.
  3. Affirm and provide companionship to her. What you say to and about your wife matters.
  4. Do little things to lighten her load, even when you are tired.
  5. Give her your undivided attention. Make it your goal to understand her.

These things will help create a hedge of emotional security around your wife. She will know you have not left your post as her gallant knight. 

Alonza Jones-Alonza Jones

President & Co-founder of Biblical Marriage Institute

BiblicalMarriageInstitute.org

Tony and Lauren Dungy

Cover Story

Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren believe that anyone can find a meaningful purpose and make a difference in other people’s lives through God’s direction.

It may seem like that’s something easy for Dungy to proclaim. After all, he had great success as head coach for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts, went on to a prolific career in broadcasting, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He and his wife stress, though, that all Christians have a life purpose, whether their sphere of influence is large or small. The Dungys share their wisdom on the topic in the just-released Uncommon Influence: Saying Yes to a Purposeful Life (Tyndale House Publishers), a book that presents practical and spiritual tactics to create lasting change in a Christian’s life, career, ministry, and family.

Tony Dungy Coaching
Tony Dungy began his NFL coaching career with the Steelers, then went on to head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. He led the Colts to a Super Bowl win in 2007.

Living a Life of Purpose. Most people, according to Dungy, don’t think they make a real difference in life. “People think, ‘I could never have an impact on people,’ but we began to think about other people who’ve had an impact on our lives and it made us realize that they may have never known what they did for us,” he said. “We had this idea to inspire people to think about what they can do.” The couple wrote the book, which they describe as one with a “mixed voice” based on their different experiences and expertise, with several goals in mind including:

  • To demonstrate the importance of saying yes when God places opportunities in your path.
  • To provide counsel on being available to the possibilities that come from God (which leads to fulfillment and contentment).
  • To share stories of their path of service, specifically in the areas of adoption and foster care.
  • To teach that the only way to know a life of true fulfillment is to give that life away.

“We wanted to share our life experiences from the more than 40 years we’ve been married,” Lauren Dungy said. “We share about our experiences with kids, fostering, and adoption and how we’ve used that platform. And then we stress that everyone has a platform. Some are small and some are large, but you have to use it to glorify God.” She stressed that a Christian’s platform “doesn’t have to be in front of 50,000 people or on television.” It can be in a community or in a family. Part of their knowledge, she added, comes from guiding people to find out how to discover what their platform may be–since many people are starting at ground zero. Prayer, she said, is integral. “You have to pray about it, and wait to hear from God,” she said. “We prayed and communicated with God about our desires, and we heard the answer that this is where God wanted us.”

Additionally, Tony said, those who want to find their areas of influence should consider where their interests, talents, and passions lie. “What do you enjoy? What is your passion?” he advised people to ask themselves. “God gives us the desire of our heart, but we need to know what that looks like.”

Lauren and Tony Wedding
Tony and Lauren Dungy met through their pastor and married in 1982. They have co-authored several books, including the 2014 release Uncommon Marriage and their new release Uncommon Influence: Saying Yes to a Purposeful Life.

In writing the book, they each focused on topics and experiences they had special knowledge of; they each point to favorite chapters. Lauren points to her chapter on prayer, which recounts her understanding of prayer from an early age. “That chapter’s powerful to me because I learned at an early that praying for wisdom and direction are so important,” she said, “My mother was injured in a terrible grease fire when I was young, and I learned from that how simple prayers can help in even terrifying experiences.” Tony points to his chapter on “going against the grain,” which he said can be especially powerful for Christian men. “Society tells us what masculinity is all about,” he said, “but you must be yourself and not follow the crowd. As a Christian we have to go against the grain of what our culture may tell us to do.”

A Shared Faith and Passion. Tony and Lauren both came to faith at an early age and were already believing Christians when they married. At the time, Tony coached for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Lauren was a teacher. They quickly realized that their platform was more than they’d imagined. “I had 30 players, she had 30 students, so we had a built-in influence,” he said. “And as we grew in our experiences with the Lord, we began a beautiful, lifelong journey that included experiences with children, foster children, and adoption,” she added. “We know that nothing is a coincidence and that God brought us to this place.”

Today Lauren uses her teaching background in her work as an early childhood educational specialist and vice president of the Dungy Family Foundation. Tony became the Buccaneers’ coach in 1996 and led the team to four playoff appearances in six seasons, then served as head coach for Indianapolis for seven seasons (making the playoffs each year and winning the Super Bowl in 2006); he was the first black coach to win the NFL championship. He retired after the 2008 season, served as an analyst for NBC’s “Football Night in America,” and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

As each of their careers changed, the couple prayed about where their focus needed to be. “We were looking at our lives. I’d retired from the NFL, was working some in television,” Dungy recalled. “We asked ourselves: What is our purpose now? What can I do in my community to make a difference?” Lauren said that it’s important for Christians to realize that platforms and opportunities can change over a lifetime, depending on what stage of your journey you’re in. “We have different seasons of life, and our platforms can change. And you can have more than one,” she said. “Tony retired, I stopped teaching, and we believe our influence is with children.”

The Dungy Family
The Dungy family consists of 10 children, who are both biological and adopted. The family also regularly includes foster children.

The Dungys have 11 children (three living biological children, seven adopted children, and their oldest son who committed suicide in 2005); they also currently have five foster children. They originally learned about the fostering opportunity from their church and have fostered children since the beginning of their marriage. It’s an experience, they both agreed, that can truly change a child’s life. “We look at these children and we don’t know where they came from or what their background is. We don’t know what their fear is,” Dungy said. “But in ten minutes they expect you to help them, and you realize that you can help them.”

The fostering experience–and the years of parenting their own sons and daughters–has taught the Dungys a variety of lessons about what children want and need. “All children want love,” Lauren Dungy said. “They want to be poured into and listened to. They want to be given the gift of time. And you have to be intentional about it. You have to ask yourself: Did I give them the time they needed? Did I support them? Did I listen to them?” Ultimately, she said, much of their efforts came down to prayer. “All children need to be prayed over and prayed with so that they can have their own faith and develop their own relationship with God,” she said.

Lauren and Tony Dungy
Lauren Dungy is a childhood education specialist, with years of experience as a teacher; she is vice president of the Dungy Family Foundation and heads up the organization’s reading program which visits elementary schools and donates books to promote literacy. Photo Credit: Steven Vosloo/Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Sharing Their Faith. The Dungys’ faith has become well known and documented over the years, as they have both been comfortable in sharing their convictions with the public. Their Dungy Family Foundation is designed to “meet the physical, educational, and spiritual needs of their community,” and they both serve in various Christian ministries and at their Tampa Bay area church.

Their testimony, though, is something they say they’ve grown into–as it’s become easier to share their faith as the years have gone by. Dungy said that he can speak from a faith standpoint when it comes to sharing his opinions–whether it’s while doing football analysis or speaking to a large audience–and Lauren stresses that a Christian testimony should be natural. “We can incorporate our faith into everyday life,” Lauren Dungy stated. “We don’t become a Christian once the TV turns off or we come home from work. We want to live our lives, and for our faith to be integral in every part of it. It needs to become natural.”

Ultimately, that witness intertwines with a Christian’s platform or sphere of influence to make a real and tangible difference in others’ lives. “We may not even realize what a difference we can make,” Dungy said, “but as Christians, we must say yes to the opportunities God puts in front of us.”

Cheryl Wray is a freelance writer based in Hueytown, Alabama, where she often writes on sports-related topics. She’s also the coordinator of the Southern Christian Writers Conference.

Did you enjoy this story? Click here to read the full August issue!

bigstock Grandchildren Having Fun Play 422341178

Senior  Scene

As a child I loved the start of a new school year. Fresh notebooks, clean paper, the skill of sharpening your pencil to a perfect point!  However, what may be exciting for some children may be upsetting to others facing new teachers, classmates, bus drivers, and schedules. One thing of which we can be sure. The 2021-22 school year will launch a New Normal in education which remains to be defined. More than ever, we need to be aware of what our grandchildren are ‘learning’ in their school settings and support our adult children as they manage decisions concerning their children’s education.

How can a grandparent help? Whether near or far, there is much we can do to encourage and support our grandchildren this school year. The objective is to give our intentional interest and care!   

  • 1st and foremost- Pray! Consider joining or starting a Moms/Grandmoms in Prayer Group. Go to www.momsinprayer.org for information.
  • Volunteer to read in your grandchild’s classroom or school library. Offer to help with a craft or party around a holiday or special event.
  • Create a field trip matching what your grandchild is learning. History and science are great subjects to work with like visiting a nearby historical location.
  • Learn with them. Find out what they are learning in a history, science, biology, etc. Research further to generate discussion.
  • Long distance? Write a book together. Teach them the lost art of letter writing.
  • Support your grandchild’s teacher. Send encouraging notes and prayerful thoughts.  Offer your help.
  • Generate conversation through questions about their friends, teachers, and activities. Be interested!
  • Offer help with carpool and afterschool care where you can have one-on-one time with your grandchild. Great resource for car time: backseatbiblenuggets.com

 Our families need us now more than ever as we traverse the educational systems of our culture. The enemy’s attacks against our children will persist to waylay our families and God’s moral foundations Be it homeschool, private or public education, the intentional Christian grandparent has a great deal to contribute to the balance and health of our grandchildren. Remember, our grandchildren NEED us! Step up and Step In – to your grandchildren’s education this school year! Want encouragement and other ideas on how to do that? Attend the only National Conference on Christian Grandparenting live at Shades Mountain Baptist Church October 21-22. Visit www.legacycoalition.com/summit for registration, speaker, and schedule information.

-Cynthia Moss

GrandLife Director, Shades Mountain Baptist Church


Grandparent’s Day of Prayer September 12!

Several years ago, the prayer ministry of Christian Grandparenting Network saw the urgency to establish a day for grandparents to unite in prayer and established a Grandparents’ Day of Prayer to coincide with National Grandparents’ Day. The purpose of Grandparents’ Day of Prayer is to raise an awareness of prayer among today’s Christian grandparents. Visit www.christiangrandparenting.com for a list of ways to participate, including a 30-Day Prayer Challenge giving thanks to God for your grandchildren and praying for their new school year.

Rob Compton with Family

Miracle Moments
Brought to you by: Molly Maid of Birmingham, mollymaid.com/Birmingham

“Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God.’” John 11:40

At Grace Klein Community (GKC), we believe in miracles and see them every day. With a community of thousands of volunteers, we cannot post all the prayer needs on our social media platforms.

Some days, however, God impresses on our hearts that the time is now to engage the entire community. January 27, 2021, was one of those days. Long-term volunteer Rob Compton was in the hospital with COVID and pneumonia. The doctors told his wife, Kathy, that she had one day to get affairs in order and informed her that he would be on a ventilator the following day. The doctors said he had two to five days to live. Of course, Kathy never mentioned to anyone that the doctor gave Rob a death sentence. All she did was ask people to pray.

Rob Compton with Family
Grace Klein volunteer and COVID survivor, Rob Compton, believes in the power of prayer. He is seen here with his wife Kathy and two of their grandchildren.

Though we did not know the severity of the situation, we knew in our hearts to use our social media platforms to rally prayer. Rob shared his testimony just one week prior- when GKC hosted a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) serve team from Texas- and many in attendance were new believers. We asked them to pray for God to heal Rob. We knew Rob would experience healing in heaven or if he walked out of the hospital. But we fervently prayed God would heal Rob here on earth and grow the faith of the YWAM team and other Grace Klein Community members.

After hundreds of people prayed globally, Rob slept on his stomach for the first time since contracting COVID and pneumonia. Overnight, his oxygen levels rose to 90 when they had been in the mid-80s for three days. Coincidence? Not a chance. We witness the power of God when His people pray.

On the day the doctors said Rob would be dead, he was discharged and walked out of the hospital. Rob is alive! Guess what? Due to bad weather, the YWAM team came back through Birmingham, and as they all sat on the floor, with Rob’s voice still raspy, he told them about the faithfulness of God. He heard people flat-lining all around him and knew the doctor did not think he would live, but he survived by the grace of God and the prayers of the saints. Often GKC is known for feeding people or food rescue, but we hope we will go down in history as an organization that believed God and saw Him do the impossible every day. All glory to God!

-Jenny Waltman
Founder, Grace Klein Community

If you have a Miracle that you would be willing to share, please email melissa@christianfamilypublications.com. Subject Line: Miracle Moments or call 205-408-7150.

Grandparents Sitting At Table

Senior Scene

Recently I was reading in John 15 where Jesus delivers his “I am” statement- “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener” and wondered how old a grapevine could live to be. I was amazed to discover they can live 120+ years. The oldest grape-producing vine living today is in Slovenia and over 400 years old! 

Grandparents sitting with grandchildrenImagine the generations that took care of those vines. Creator Jesus knew the fruit that could be produced from a well-tended branch, but one thing was required to be productive. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” A good branch had to remain on the vine! 

So, it is with the Christian grandparent. With an earnest desire to see our grandchildren become Christians and live victoriously in this world, we are called to intentionally ‘remain on the vine’ to bear the good fruit of faith before our adult children and grandchildren. Once secure on the Vine, the branch must grow “showing yourselves to be my disciples.” As God’s children we never ‘arrive’ as a Christian. We are to grow in faith our whole life long. We cannot assume we can pour faith and unconditional love into our grandchildren unless we are experiencing those same things in our relationship with Christ. We cannot give what we do not have ourselves. A healthy branch is an ever-growing branch!

A healthy ‘branch’ lives joyfully. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” No one likes being around a grumpy ole’ grandparent. These verses prove a grumpy, negative, disagreeable grandparent is not a product of a healthy branch! Grandchildren need grandparents with a heart of joy, a fun-loving spirit, and a positive outlook on life. Grandparents who are pleasant to be around, speak kind words, encourage, serve, and have a heart for adventure.  

The only national conference on Christian Grandparenting is coming to Shades Mountain Baptist Church for two inspiring days at the Legacy Grandparenting Summit 2021 on Oct. 21-22. With more Grandparents living today than at any time in history, today’s intentional Christian Grandparent can reach this and future generations for Christ! Be sure to stop by the Shades Mountain Baptist Church booth at the Celebrate the Family Expo May 8 at the Pelham Civic Complex to learn more about grandparenting resources including the Legacy Grandparenting Summit, www.legacycoalition.com/Summit.

Cynthia Moss-Cynthia Moss

GrandLife Director, Shades Mountain Baptist Church

Nanamoss8@gmail.com

bigstock Close Up African American Psyc 383047778

Every Family Deserves Hope

I have been serving in the substance abuse recovery ministry for the past thirteen years and one thing that I have never heard from anyone is, “I always wanted to grow up to be an addict.” Experts estimate that in Alabama there are more than 300,000 individuals suffering from opioid addiction alone (vertavahealth.com/alabama/). Once you add in all of the other substance abuse addictions that number could easily be more than half a million just in Alabama. The bottom line is that the struggle is real.

Within the past two weeks, I have personally lost two people that I know to overdose. People find themselves trapped without ever having desired to become trapped. There are all sorts of reasons why an individual becomes addicted. There are behavioral reasons and physiological reasons alike but one thing I have realized is that very few are satisfied in their addiction.  

The Foundry is one of numerous places in Alabama that works hard to offer hope to those bound by addiction. Our approach has many facets but the primary effort for us is to lead the men and women that walk through our doors into a new way of living. We believe that new life begins with an introduction to the life changing grace offered through Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us that “For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” By offering a one-year, live-in recovery program, The Foundry can help everyone in our care stop using drugs. However, not using and being free are two very different outcomes. One key thought for the men and women at The Foundry is really a point for us all as well and it comes from John 6:37, “…and whoever comes to me I will never cast away.” Freedom from addiction, freedom from sickness, freedom from depression all require our coming to Him. But this action is wrapped in the promise that when we do, He will never cast us away. Addicts do recover. Freedom is available to us all in Christ.

Every Family Deserves Hope Micah TheFoundry Headshot-Micah Andrews 

When you donate to the Foundry, 

you’re supporting a charity, 

you’re saving a life, 

you’re restoring a family. 

Every Family Deserves Hope 

FoundryMinistries.com 

 

Get More Good News! E-subscribe to Birmingham Christian Family