I have been blessed beyond belief to have had beside me and amazingly beautiful woman of God, whom I adore. To my wife, I say thank you, for the five children we have been blessed with, and for the 29 years you have raised me! You are smart, funny, driven, focused and beautiful! Your world has stood by and watched as you marched your way through this Bachelor’s degree program in five years, all the while maintain your 4.0 GPA! All of your family and friends could not be more proud of you! Happy Anniversary Rachelle! I Love You!
This is my Dad! Billy McChesney, born in 1942 in Prescott Arkansas. Got married in 1960 and saw me for the first time in 1962. To everyone he knows, he is “Billy Wayne” and has met very few people he didn’t like, and those he didn’t, deserved it. Growing up, I watched him smoke cigarettes till his heart doctor, said no more, by then I was also following in his footsteps. Seeing his strokes and subsequent pacemaker installation, I followed again in his footsteps in 2004 and quit smoking myself.
I never saw him drink, outside of the occasional eggnog at the holidays, and only then, because my Uncle Carl brought it and the leftovers would sit in the cabinet until the next time they would get together.
I never heard him cuss, well not really; his cuss word was ‘crap’. Depending on how he used it! If he was talking about the ‘crap’ on the news or the ‘crap’ on TV, I didn’t flinch, but if was helping him with the car, and I heard ‘CRAP’ while he was under it, I knew to pick up my feet, cause a wrench was probably coming out from under it!
He was a perfect example of how and man should treat his wife, and although we never had much money, we still had everything we needed, even if he had to take a couple of side jobs to do it! I don’t think I ever saw him sitting around, always working on something or remodeling the house or fixing something, even after working 12 hours or more.
This is my dad, and while I will never measure up the standard he set for himself, I did know right from wrong, and learned how to treat all people with dignity and respect, and watched him lead by example into my own adulthood. And never a week goes by, that I don’t make that phone call, to ask how I can solve whatever is the problem of the day.
This is my Dad, and I love him! Happy Father’s Day Dad!
It’s normal for all of us as parents to want to train all of our kids in the same way. We think that’s being fair. Treat them all in the same way. There’s only one problem with that – it doesn’t work. Anytime I hear somebody say, “I just treat all my kids the exact same way,” you’re not a very good parent then. Because your kids are not the exact same so they need to be treated in different ways. Not unfairly but in different ways.
Let me take a little survey here. How many of you grew up with either a brother or a sister? How many of you would say that in style, I am extremely different from my brother or sister. I rest my case!
Just because you’re raised in the same family doesn’t mean you’re all the same. You are not. You’re very, very different. It’s really funny. The most self-righteous people are people who only have one child and they get lucky and that first one is compliant. They think it’s a result of their parenting. They just got lucky on the draw. They should have number two! Then they’re going to be a lot less haughty about their parenting skills. They think that little junior is great because they’ve done something. No you just got lucky and had a compliant child.
Some kids come out of the womb saying, “Mama!” And other kids come out chewing on a cigar saying, “I dare you to make me laugh!” They’ve got their dukes up ready to fight coming out of the womb. It had nothing to do with your parenting skills. It’s just a matter of genetics. If you try to treat those two the same way as a parent, you’re a fool. It doesn’t work. Anybody knows that you can discipline two kids the same way and one of them it crushes them and the other one laughing to the bank! We’re just different in style.
“Train up a child in the way he should go,” means you understand his stage of life, you understand his strengths, and it means you understand his/her style and you adapt accordingly as a parent. You never try to turn an extrovert into an introvert.
1 Corinthians 12:6 says “God works through different people in different ways.”
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
A lot of people think this verse means if I raise my kid in a godly way, if I train him in the right way then when they get old they’ll really live for God and they’ll never turn away from God.
That’s just not true. You know all kinds of examples of that where that’s not true. I know lots of kids who were raised in a good, godly way and somewhere they took a left turn or a right hand turn or U-turn and they totally messed up their lives.
When you say, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” what does it mean? It means three things. It means train him up according to his stage of life that he’s in right now. It means train him up according to what his personal strengths are.
First it means train your child up in the stage of life that they are in. What does that mean? It means you don’t treat a preschooler like a grade-schooler. You don’t treat a grade-schooler like a teenager. You don’t treat a teenager like somebody who’s thirty years old. You understand that at each stage of life there’s appropriate ways to train, to teach and to respond. And there’s appropriate amount of responsibility they should have at each stage.
Part of parenting means figuring out what your children are good at and let them go in that direction rather than forcing them in the direction you would like them to go. So “Train him up in the way he should go” means understand the stage of life and treat him accordingly, understand their strengths and treat them accordingly.
1 Corinthians 12:6 says “God works through different people in different ways.”
God intentionally makes everybody in the world different. You’re not like anybody else and your children are not like their brothers and sisters. They’re all different. God made us all different intentionally for a couple reasons.
You may not realize it but pity, self-pity, really is a fear. It is the fear of failing again. “I’ve failed in the past and I’m afraid I’m going to do it again so I’m going to have a pity party. I’ll invite me, myself and I. I have this pity party and sing the little song – Everybody hates me, nobody loves me, I’m going to go eat worms. Pity me.” The bottom line is you’re worried about failing again.
There’s nothing wrong with failing. Failure is how we learn. How did Thomas Edison discover tungsten as the filament for a light bulb? He had 999 failures first. He said, “I know 999 things that don’t work.” But he finally found the right one.
I have failed more I life than I have succeeded. So have you. That’s how we learn. Don’t call it a failure. Call it an education. Some of us are very educated. Why? Because we’ve all failed many, many times. Sure we look back and go, “I wish I hadn’t done that. I wish I hadn’t made that stupid decision. I wish I could go back and do it over.” It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. What matters the direction your feet are headed today. Are they headed towards Christ? Are they headed toward Jesus? Are they headed towards God’s purpose and plan for your life?
For me personally, the whole idea of it is disgusting, but I think there is some insight many of us have been missing including me, so here goes….
Imagine Jesus chatting with Bruce Jenner. It’s early in the morning and they are alone in the temple. The disciples are sleeping, still recovering from the previous day. But Jesus is up, and a man wants to talk to him about feeling like a woman.
“I’ve always been very confused with my gender identity.” says Jenner, 65, tearing up. And he tries to explain it, “God’s looking down, making little Bruce … he says ‘Okay, what are gonna do with this one. Make him a smart kid, very determined … and then when he’s just finishing he says, ‘Let’s wait a second.’ “God looks down and chuckles a little bit and says, ‘Hey, let’s give him the soul of a female.’”
Bruce is guessing, but Jesus knows.
You see, Jesus was actually there when Bruce was created. He perfectly knows The Father’s plans and intentions for this man. He was the word that formed Bruce perfectly in his mother’s womb.
So Jesus looks at Bruce and loves him.
He loved Peter the hothead. He loved Nathaniel the racist. He loved Thomas the doubter. He even loved Judas the traitor. For sure he will love Bruce the transgender.
He also called out Peter when he was contradicting God’s will. He corrected James and John for being judgmental. He prophesied about Judas’ sin. For sure he would talk to Bruce about his sexuality.
But imagine that while they’re still talking, a mob of holy men arrive. They know that Jesus is a Friend of Sinners… “but come on! Not this kind of sinner!”
They ask each other, “What is Jesus doing with this “guy”… alone in the temple?”
The one Pharisee says, “It’s like that time he spoke to the fornicator lady near the well in Samaria.”
An older Rabbi remembers, “And like that evening when the whore washed his feet with her hair.”
The newer Sadducee adds, “Or the time the tax collector became his disciple.”
The other Pharisee reminds them, “Guys, it’s like the other million times we have seen him with the ugly and the dirty and the sinful.”
And the chief priest replies, “He’s just one of them, you know, a glutton and a drunkard… but he’s pretending to be one of us, a teacher and a Rabbi.”
These religious leaders (who know the Bible very well) remind Jesus that Bruce was caught in the act of sexual immorality (which for Bruce is becoming Caityln). They ask the Lord if he remembers the Law of Moses. Specifically the verses that talk against men sleeping with men and the reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, “And this guy wants to be a woman?!? Well, let’s stone him like one!”
Gracefully, Jesus bends down and writes on the dirt.
The newer Sadducee adds shamefully, “Oh God… not this again.”
Yes, they all know what’s coming. They have seen it before. John 8 is fresh in their hearts. The woman caught in the act of adultery And although they know the story (everyone in their world knows the story) they still judge, still demand, still bring rocks.
Nevertheless, Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever, gets up and says, “He who is free of sin, throw the first stone.”
One by one, they leave.
They go back to the search. To find the worst kind of sin. Another kind of adulterous woman. Another one like Bruce.
And for 2,000 years holy men have kept trying to get Jesus to throw a stone.
We do. But he never will.
Bruce Jenner said in his interview with Diane Sawyer that he was a Christian and a conservative and a republican. He also said that he was not interested in men. Maybe this whole thing is a ploy to get huge ratings on his next reality TV show. Maybe Bruce misses the attention he got while being the greatest athlete on earth back in the 70’s, so he’s trying to get it back. Maybe he’s jealous of his step-daughters. Maybe he’s bored.
I know this as gossip.
But maybe he’s broken, confused, tired and alone; like we all are (in some shape or form). And if that’s the case, then this is the perfect opportunity for us to love him well. This is the time and the season for the sons and daughter of God to pray, reach out and love this man (and all the men) that are trying to become a woman.
I don’t know which parts to believe about Mr. Jenner’s story. All I know is that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
I know this as truth.
That’s the superior story.
This is the script I’m sticking with.
God made Bruce Jenner to be loved.
You might not have access to a celebrity like him, but I’m sure you have one family member, or friend, or co-worker who considers themselves LGBT. You might look down on them. You might be weirded out by their behavior. You might even think that if you befriend them, their sexuality is going to contaminate you.
But Jesus would have a chat with them.
No stones in his hand.
Only the scars of the cross.
And this song of hope: “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
I believe the Bible is clear; Homosexuality is a sin. But so are about 30 different things I did today. That means we all need the Savior. We all need the sinless one to our rescue.
“With Jesus there is no us and them – there is just us.”
I will save the energy of hate and use it for love. I will not waste time debating “right or wrong”. I’ll learn to talk to the marginalized; to try to understand their journey, to make their healing my own.
Pastor Greg Boyd writes, “45% of transgender teens attempt suicide. I can’t understand their inner torment, but they’re not making this up. I can’t judge them.”
I won’t either. So let’s change our ways, let’s go back to the ways of Christ.
It all starts by talking to the LGTB community as friends not as enemies.
It ends by getting rid of the rocks, and the stones.
“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17