Category Archives: Marriage & Family

Happy Birthday Katherine Jubilee!

Our baby girl, Kate, is five today! She’s a beauty inside and out. Like her name, a Pure Joy – Katherine means Pure, Jubilee means Joy (see, I did use my Biblical languages after seminary, Ha!). Happy Cinco de Mayo and Happy Birthday Kate!

Family Devotions: Yes! They ARE Listening!

Good encouragement here from Tony Evans, for when the Family Devotion just seems like a lot of commotion. Parents, keep showing up!

There were times when our four kids would be acting up around the table while I was trying to lead devotions, and it would irritate me. They would be talking out of turn, or one would be pouting. It just seemed like a lot of commotion rather than devotion! I admit there were even times when I called it quits and told everyone to go to their rooms because they weren’t paying attention or they were being disrespectful. But more times than not, I stuck it out, and then, at a later point, I would be surprised how one child or another would bring up something I thought for sure no one had heard during the devotions at the table simply due to the noise. They were listening— even when it didn’t look like they were listening. Those were the moments God used to remind me to hang in there when I would want to walk away from the table early and call it a night. I would remember that it was my responsibility to train these children to the best of my ability— imperfectly but consistently. I was called to show up and do my part, leaving the hard work of getting the truth into their hearts to God.

Excerpted from Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans

“So How Old Are You Now?”

Another Birthday in the books!r

Celebrating 17 Years Married Today

It was 1999, the world was coming to an end (remember Y2K? Ha!), but we were getting married!! Grateful for my good thing (Proverbs 18:22), Heather Johnson Corley! 

In the Wake of a Godly Family

WakeI recently became the owner of a small boat that will primarily be enjoyed on a river with many very large boats. So, I’ve had to learn how to maneuver the wakes of these vessels. The smoothest ride is provided when you can be behind a large vessel so that you can be IN their wake. Outside that wake will be a rough ride. There’s a parallel here to life and family. We’re all experiencing the wakes of the people that have gone before us. The Bible says that we can make it easier for those coming behind us, by the way we live our lives.

“the offspring of the righteous will be delivered” Proverbs 11:21

“in the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge” Proverbs 14:26

“The righteous who walks in his integrity – blessed are his children after him” Proverbs 20:7

Last week was the funeral for one of my mother’s older brothers. Marty was 73, and he was the first of Joe & Jack Francis’ eleven children to pass away. This gave me an opportunity to thank God for the grace of being a part of a Godly family and the wake that I now follow in. Joe and Jack, my Grandparents, were married over 50 years. They built a successful business which they were able to pass on to their sons. They served God faithfully as deacon in several local churches. They were known for their radical generosity. They set a compelling example and prayed for their family. Now, eleven children who have been self-sufficient and are living well. Thirty grandchildren and forty-five plus (I’ve lost count) great-grandchildren are thriving. And the great-great grandkids are the pride of the bunch. It’s not perfect, but to be a part of this family is to know that you’re a part of something special.

Joe & Jack Francis

Joe & Jack Francis

Often times, when things go well for me, often in spite of me, I believe that its because God is keeping His promises to and answering the prayers of Joe and Jack Francis, and to those before and around them who devoted themselves to His purposes and to passing on a godly legacy to their future generations. I’m grateful for the kind wake that they have left for me and my children behind me. Praying that I can keep sailing smooth for my future generations.

Consider what kind of wake are you leaving for those who will follow you. God can redeem any story. If your fore-bearers were negligent, let it START with you.

Francis siblings. Last pic with Marty.

Francis siblings. Last pic with Marty.

Francis Family reunion a few years ago.

Francis Family reunion a few years ago.

The Church Planter’s Wife

In honor of my church planting wife on our 16th Anniversary

Sunday’s have been abnormal for my wife for the entirety of our marriage. They’ve included:

  • never having her husbands help getting the kids ready for church because he’s setting up for church.
  • very seldom sitting by her husband in a worship service because of preaching/sound/nursery/etc.
  • going to church in weird places like apartment complex clubhouses, fire stations, former bars, & gymnasiums
  • not having Sunday lunch till 2pm most weeks because he’s doing teardown & cleanup

Why? Because her husbands a church planter. I’ve never heard her complain about any of this as she has accepted this role as who she is. It’s OUR calling, she says. A calling that’s led her to:

  • Lead worship for a new church’s first worship service in an un air conditioned fire station in August, WHILE 9 MONTHS PREGNANT.
  • She cooked for & hosted the first new members class for a church plant, JUST BEFORE checking in to the hospital to deliver one of our children.
  • She’s started worship teams, children’s teams, Bible Studies, Book Club’s, women’s ministries. She’s painted faces, painted buildings, scrubbed floors, scrubbed toilets, changed diapers, etc., etc., etc.
  • She’s prepared the home for meetings probably a thousand times by now! Many times 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes twice in one day.
  • She’s never complained about short vacations & creatively inexpensive date nights or about having to work outside the home because the church planters salary was, to say it nicely, below the average income for the area.
  • She’s cooked & cleaned for thousands of volunteers that have served through our ministries. Many of them in the emotional aftermath of Hurricanes that had damaged our property & the property of most of our friends.
  • She’s faced the emotional ups & downs of having a type A church planting husband who has faced criticism, made bad decisions, said yes to too much, & wanted to quit every Monday.
  • And during all this, did I mention WE’VE GOT KIDS! Yep, she’s also an incredible mom, sister, friend, coworker, etc.

Dr. Reggie Ogea, who recruited me to plant our first church tells me every time I see him – “You know we only hired you because of your wife. We thought you were the real deal, but we knew Heather was the real deal.” And she’s proven him right over & over again.

Sometimes as I think about all of this I want to say “I’m sorry.” But she wouldn’t get it. So I just have to keep saying THANK YOU! & giving her the praise she deserves (Proverbs 31:28, 31).

Last year I talked her into telling her story to a group of church planting wives. I told her she should write it up, but she didn’t. However, I hijacked her notes (after 16 years of marriage, we can usually guess each others passwords). Here’s her outline – the commitments of a Church Planting Wife:

  • I will love my husband well.
  • I will not allow chaos, conflict, & criticism to completely freak me out.
  • I will be who I am created to be & not compare myself to other women.
  • I will take a posture of love to the lost in my community.

Grateful that she’s fulfilled & lived these commitments out. And looking forward to many more years of planting, ministry, & life with my good thing (Proverbs 18:22) Heather Corley!

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Hudson’s Seven!

Happy Birthday to my ninja warrior, Hudson. Made it through year seven without a single trip to the Emergency room, which is a huge feet for a kid that lives life at his speed & intensity. I like to say our Insurance Deductible is very afraid every time he goes outside. His enthusiasm & love for friends challenges me everyday. He’s got an incredible ability to negotiate & persuade. Always wins at monopoly. He’s one of a kind! I’m blessed that God has allowed me to be his dad. Can’t wait to see what God does with this Church Planter’s Kid! Happy Birthday Hudson!

Fatherhood Through Their Eyes

A few years ago my oldest son defined what Fatherhood looked like to him after 7 years with me:

  • Fun
  • Awesome
  • Tall
  • Holy
  • Eats Alot
  • Really Stinky
  • Smart

He knows me pretty good! And I’m trying to live up to most of this list. But being aware of what’s seen through their eyes is so important as a Dad. They learn so much from what they see, and smell I guess. My to do list for my boys: Be intentional, listen, point them to God’s Word, accumulate experience & memories. And remember, he/she may be Just Like You.

How would your son or daughter define Fatherhood by what she sees in you?

Got Our Redneck Wedding On this Weekend

Got to officiate my first real Redneck Wedding this Weekend. Barn, Hay, Rubber Boots, Bride riding in on a Landmaster. It was awesome! Congrats to Louis & Amy Bankston! And yes the groom got a brand new pair of rubber boots for the occasion.

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Date Your Wife: A Call for Intentional Manhood

“God has given man the ability to be the best thing or the worst thing that ever happened to a marriage.” Justin Buzzard in Date Your Wife calls men to initiate, pursue, and desire our wives like we did at first. To plan and implement a strategy of devotion like we would a hunting or golf trip or a business deal. It’s what God created men to do. This book is a short treatise on what it means to be a husband. And for a generation that has no idea what that means, its a desperately needed message. Very practical. Men, a great Christmas gift idea for your wife: get this book, read it, do it. Here’s a few favorite quotes:

  • “Matrimony came from Paradise, and leads to it. I never was half so happy, before I was a married man, as I am now. When you are married, your bliss begins. Let the husband love his wife as he loves himself, and a little better, for she is his better half. He should feel, ‘If there’s only one good wife in the whole world, I’ve got her.’” ~ Spurgeon
  • our first date stories have one thing in common: we acted like men. We pursued our wives to be. We made the move. We initiated. We took a risk. We took the lead.
  • “There is no bond on earth so sweet, nor any separation so bitter, as that which occurs in a good marriage.” ~ Martin Luther
  • If you want to change a marriage, change the man.
  • God has given the man the ability to be the best thing or the worst thing that ever happened to a marriage.
  • A man needs a mission. Men were created to carry out a mission, and if a man does not have a mission, he feels lost and impotent.
  • God have the first man, and God gives us men, a mission that can be completed only through dependence.
  • Jesus doesn’t make men better. He makes men new.
  • The most rebellious, countercultural thing you can do in our culture is to be happily married until death do you part.
  • Vows aren’t automatic. Vows aren’t magic. Vows don’t keep themselves.
  • The point of your marriage isn’t you. The point of your marriage isn’t your wife. The point of your marriage is to date your wife in such a way that showcases Jesus and His power to a world of husbands and wives, men and women, boys and girls, in desparate need of a God who can rescue, reconcile, restore, and redeem their broken lives. Marriage isn’t ultimate. God is ultimate.

Great list of 100 Ideas on how to be intentional about Dating Your Wife. Here’s a few:

  1. Cut something from your budget and use that money to date your wife.
  2. Cut something from your schedule and use that time to date your wife.
  3. Pray for your wife. Pray for her every day.
  4. Tell you wife that she looks beautiful, and teach your kids to do the same.
  5. Criticize your wife less. Compliment your wife more.
  6. Hold your wife’s hand often, in public and in private.
  7. Watch the kids and send your wife out to a local coffee shop to enjoy an hour or two alone.
  8. Brag about your wife in front of other people.
  9. Keep fresh dry erase markers in the bathroom. Periodically write your wife an encouraging note on the bathroom mirror that she’ll read when she wakes up.
  10. Write in a card the top five reasons you chose your wife as your bride.

Also, check out the author’s blog here.

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