A Window To Your World

I was at a high school the other day talking to students about Abstinence and Social Media is always a topic. I told them the story of a time in High School when a girl named Heather wanted me to call her one night. Of course, I did. Her dad answered the phone and I asked for Heather, he told me she died and promptly hung up. The next day she asked me why I didn’t call her, I said I had and that her dad had told me she was dead, so that was that. The students laughed and said that’s funny. I agreed. That led me to the point of, today’s teens have unprecedented access to each other. There is no middle man, no gatekeeper, no dad telling a teen their daughter is unavailable, no nothing. Teens Facetime each other in the bed, in their rooms, while in the bathroom, driving down the street, and at all times. Teens simply have no private boundaries. I mean as a teenage boy that kind of access is just an invitation to a private world. Cell phones give access to areas of teenagers’ lives that is unprecedented and what I believe is unhealthy. So, teens and parents, let me give you 3 things to help keep yourself or your teen safe and healthy.

  1. Access Denied.

Parents, did you know that the world we grew up in no longer exists? Our teens are in a whole new world. A world where access is easy and unfiltered? When we were growing up, there was no access to a girl’s room. If you were lucky enough to go to a girl’s house, you’d never make it to her bedroom. You would be stuck with her parents watching Wheel of Fortune, true story, or be outside on the porch. Now, our teens have Facetime and that gives unfiltered access to private areas of their lives. Talking to teens, they Facetime everywhere, driving, in bed, showering, getting ready, and as one girl said, even going to the bathroom. So as a parent, you have to limit that. Facetime or video chat should be in public areas of your home. No bedrooms, bathrooms, or private areas. No Facetime when driving shouldn’t have to be said but, no Facetime while driving. Set limits on time also. Your teens will Facetime all night long until one passes out! We know your teens need a lot of rest.

2. Eliminate Creepers

Peeping Toms are nothing new. However, in today’s age, they are not as prevalent as they used to be. Why? Well, porn is easier accessed, and if there is a girl they are interested in, there will be photos and videos. So instead of a creeper fogging up the window outside a girl’s bedroom, they fog up the window to their world, social media accounts. I ask the teenage girls what they would do if they were in their room changing and saw a creeper out their window, and the answer is always the same, scream and run. Yet, they post videos and pictures in provocative outfits on social media and do not think anyone will creep them. Hahahahahahahaahh. “Well, my accounts are private” Hahahahahahahahahahahahah. There are so many workarounds for private accounts, and this point always makes the girls get stunned into silence, you have no clue which of your friends is a creeper either.

So parents, eliminate pictures of your daughters in their undies, provocative outfits, and swimsuits. Do I like that? No. Is our world dangerous? Yes. Are our daughter’s huge targets for sexual traffickers? Yes. I am only talking about your under 18-year-old daughters. After high school, they should know how it is and act accordingly.

3. Access Granted

Parents, your child will have multiple accounts on social media. I am not talking about one account on Instagram, one on Snapchat, and so on. Nope, they will have multiple accounts on each platform. Sometimes they are referred to as “spam” accounts by the youth. Here is a practical tip, have access to all of your children’s social media accounts. You should have total access to their phones at all times. If they fight you on that, and they will, you are the parent. You pay for the phone, you have access to the phone. Pretty simple concept. If they pay for their own phone, you are still their parent and you have access to their phone. If they fight you about access to their phone, they have something to hide. That is a fact. So have access to all your kid’s electronic devices.

These are just a few practical tips for you as parents. It all is about open communication. So talk to your kids about staying safe and having their own private refuge that the outside world does not have access to. They need a place to decompress.

Change the World by Starting Small

If You want to Change the World You have to Learn to Carry Your Cheese

• 1 Samuel 17:18 “And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare and bring back news of them.”

I. God Wants you to be faithful in the SMALL things.

David started the day carrying cheese but ended the day carrying Goliath’s head.
• His father told him to “Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit.” (1 Sam 17:18) So, David was a delivery driver. He delivered sandwiches, soda, and cheeses and ultimately delivered Israel from the Philistines. Later that same day the Bible tells us that as soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. (1 Sam 17:57)- Just 39 verses!!

• David wasn’t trying to be a leader or a hero. He was simply trying to obey his father and serve his brothers. He seemed perfectly content to carry cheese to those who were on the front lines.

If obedience and service is our goal, then greatness is often the result.

• David was doing a simple task when he was faced with a monumental challenge.
• See God gives us the small tasks to do to see if we will be faithful. Small things such as attendance, tithing, serving.

• Goliath was speaking against the Israelites and against God.
• David had Righteous Indigitation against Goliath.
• Righteous indignation is a reactive emotion of anger over mistreatment, insult, or malice of another.
• Do we have righteous indignation over people insulting Christianity, Jesus, and ultimately God?

But if greatness is the goal, pride is often the result.

• Look at the small items God uses in the Bible to accomplish big things.
• Small stones to defeat Goliath.
• Small jar of Alabaster to anoint Jesus
• Small amount of fish and bread to feed multitudes.
• In our society a growing feeling of entitlement, such as, “I deserve a promotion (without the process)” … “I deserve the position, prestige, and responsibility without having to pay the price and be faithful today.”
• Today our oatmeal is ready to eat in 60 seconds, our prescription lenses are ready to be picked up in 60 minutes, and our house can be built in 60 days. We are a culture that is used to getting what we want instantly. We aren’t used to working patiently or waiting on anything—even a hamburger.

• Jesus taught, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much, and he who is unrighteous in a little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous riches, who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Luke 16:11).

• What we want today is much more without the very little. We want the tip without the toil, the gain without the grind, the sweets without the sweat, the prize without the pain, and the perks without the perseverance. Today, duty, diligence, hard work, and attention to detail are rare commodities in any endeavor—whether it be at home, at work, or at church.
• Grit, Grind, and then Glory!!
• See there is nothing Small when God Is In it!!
• No small missions
• No small churches
• No small deeds
• No small needs
• Being faithful in the small things requires the power of perspective.

• If serving is beneath you, leadership is beyond you.

• In the small things God is cultivating the larger things.
• He is giving you tools to be successful in the bigger, larger things.

God has called us to slay the giants!!

• But we often want to do the big things but don’t want to do the small things to be faithful. We have to learn to carry the cheese.

Carry The Cheese

We all have obstacles, mountains, problems, handicaps, and giants to overcome in our lives. Whether those are in our personal or professional lives, we still have to have a plan to overcome them. For a couple of years now I have been teaching a lesson on “Overcoming Giants” based on the story of David and Goliath. There are so many lessons out there on that subject from the history of Goliath to why David picked up five stones to why the stones were smooth. So I decided to look at it from a different view, why was David even there? Why was this shepherd boy out on the battlefield to even begin with? Those questions led to some eye-opening truths that changed my view of obstacles or giants to overcome!

 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten kinds of cheese to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them

– 1 Samuel 17:17-18

David, the little shepherd boy was out tending the flock. His father, Jesse, called him home and sent him to the battlefront to get an update on the status of his older sons. Jesse sent David with some sandwiches, Cokes, and a cheese sampler, think charcuterie board, to the battlefield and to the general to butter him up for information. While there David hears Goliath talking trash and has righteous indignation and the rest is history.

So what are we to learn from this lesson? The top layer lesson is this, God wants to give us large victories but in order to get those victories, we must do the little things first. David did not wake up that day expecting to become a national hero and legend by the end of the day. No, he woke up and began his day just like every other day, out in the fields with his sheep. Head down doing his work and doing what he was supposed to do. Over the next few weeks, we will look at some lessons on how to carry the cheese.

Biblical Foundations of Finance

“Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him?

Everything under heaven is Mine.”

-Job 41:11

One of the things I find out while working for a church and talking to people struggling financially is how people view money and money management. Not every person in the church or those who claim to be a Christian are on the same page when it comes to money. There are a couple of reasons why. Follow me here. Before you were saved and redeemed, you did not use the Bible to find financial advice. Most people that are unsaved do not go to the Bible to find financial advice and not surprisingly, Christians don’t either! Guess what, the Bible is packed full of financial knowledge. There are over 2,000 Bible verses dealing with money, possessions, and tithing. That’s as twice as many verses that cover prayer and faith! That is a whole bunch of financial information packed in the Bible. That’s right, the Bible talks more about money than it does prayer and faith!! Do you reckon that means that finances are important to God?  How about this fact: 16 out of 38 parables that Jesus taught dealt with money and possessions. Or the fact that nearly 25% of Jesus’ words, you know the words in red, deal with Biblical stewardship. Biblical Stewardship is understanding that your life and all that you own does not belong to you but to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and you are to manage it for His kingdom ministry. So where would one start dissecting this information? Glad you asked. I placed Job 41:11 at the beginning of this chapter. Why? Because it shows all Christians where their money comes from. Everything under the sun is owned by God, including the sun! It is THE Biblical Foundation of Christianity. So that means all of our money belongs to God. So, in essence, we are money managers for God. Seems like God would have taught us a lesson based on being a money manager, oh wait, isn’t that the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. How about that. The Creator of the Universe and Author of the Bible has given us a lesson on being a money manager. So, if we are called to manage money for God, how are we to go about it? Let’s look. 

Where do I start to manage my money according to the Bible? The short and long answer to it is to create a budget. A budget is defined as “an estimate of income and expenses for a set period of time”. A budget is rooted in the Bible. Look at these verses:

 Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” 

Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.” 

Proverbs 27:23 “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention 

to your herds,”

That means having a budget. You must have one to succeed with money. How can you count your money if you do not know where it goes or where it is. Proverbs 27:23 tells us to keep an eye on your flocks and herds. Now while that is rooted in being a shepherd, it still applies to us in this modern world. How many times have you said, “I don’t know where my money went.” You are not alone. The people that say that are usually not counting their flocks or herds, which is their money. They do not keep a count of their money. A quick Google search shows that banks took in 12.4 BILLION dollars in overdraft fees in 2020. That tells me that it is a symptom of not keeping attention on our herds aka bank accounts. So, step one is to get a budget together. If you are married, both of you need to get on the same page. You will never find long-term success as a team if you both are pulling in different directions. 

Money, New Years Resolutions, and God

For some people, ringing in the new year includes more than singing “Auld Lang Syne”, having a toast, and kissing someone they love. Plenty of people across America will make New Year’s resolutions. There are plenty of New Year’s superstitions that Americans will participate in too. All across the southern states, Americans will eat black eye peas and collard greens with a side of gold cornbread. The black eye peas or Hoppin’ Johns, which represent prosperity because they swell when you cook them and we want our finances to swell. The collard greens represent folding money, greenbacks, benjis, cheddar, dead presidents, the paper, the loot, the bread, moolah, which are all slang terms for cold hard cash. The cornbread represents gold bars and riches. Some other New Years’ superstitions surrounding money include wearing green underwear, placing cash in their wallets, or eating something that forms a circle, like a donut. The usual suspects when it comes to New Years Resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more, and save money are the top resolutions made every year. Yet, most people stop going to the gym in February, most people do not lose weight, and most are in the same financial shape at the end of the New Year as they were at the beginning or they are worse off. Why? Habits. Habits never change and therefore behavior never changes. Habits die hard. Studies show that it takes 21 days to change a habit or develop a habit. Changing our diets, exercise routine, and money management routines that have been ingrained into our lives for so long take such a huge concerted effort that we do not have the sustained energy for over the long haul. We do not have the endurance for it. It is cold outside this time of year, so who wants to be out walking or out running? Matter of fact, who wants to run anyway? So, we go to the gym. The gym is overwhelming though, there are so many machines and weights and people and sweat, and mirrors and treadmills, and things we have no clue what they are or what they do. You just stand there and look and become discouraged. Diets are extremely hard to stick to. You can’t have Little Debbie’s Oatmeal crème Pies on any diet I have found. You must count calories, watch what you eat, and change what goes into your body. So, when it comes to money, we struggle in the same ways. Struggling to make changes to our financial situation is just as difficult as our dietary and exercise struggles. Actually, money habits may be the most difficult to overcome. We have dealt with money, or the lack of it, for so long, that the ways or plans we use are not really helping us. We are just kicking the can down the road. So how do we change the habits we have when it comes to money? The first place we need to look is at the foundation from which we base our money principles. We learn most of our money habits from our parents. Whether they talk to us about finances or not, we learn from them. We listen to all sorts of people’s financial advice, read financial gurus books, go to conferences, listen to podcasts, and search. A quick Google search will reveal thousands of financial coaching books, websites, Youtube links, and you name it. Before you know it, boom, you’ve dropped a hundred dollars on some scheme to get your finances under control. However, you probably already have the best book on financial counseling that money can buy collecting dust somewhere in your home, the Bible. God’s Word has plenty to say in it about money, saving, budgeting, stewardship, giving, debt, and is free on most electronic devices! So let us look over the next six weeks and see what God has to say about handling money His way.

Playing House

I saw a young lady’s Facebook post yesterday saying that people should live together before they get married. Her argument was basically that in order to know someone you must live with them first. So basically, a free test drive. I strongly disagree. After 15 years of marriage, I can tell you there will always be things your spouse does that will drive you crazy. Let me give you a list of things I do that drive my wife nuts:

  • Socks right next to the dirty hamper
  • Shoes by the door
  • Hat on counter
  • Fishing gear on my desk
  • Toilet seat up
  • Towel over the shower bar
  • Yeti cups everywhere
  • Not making the bed as soon as my feet hit the floor
  • Beard trimmings in the sink
  • Toilet paper applied the “wrong” direction
  • Never turning a light on
  • Playing Video Games

I could go on and on, there are millions of things that I do that drive my wife bonkers. On the other hand, there are things she does that drive me crazy. Living together beforehand would not change those things. It is who they are. In our society we see people living together all the time and see it fall apart all the time. Why? One simple word, commitment. A word that has lost its’ meaning and power in today’s society. It is a big word to God and should be a huge word to us. I have said for the longest time that God loves to bless two things, Givers and Marriages. God loves to give to a cheerful giver and God loves to bless marriages. There was a time in America when living together before marriage was frowned upon. It was seen as putting the cart before the horse. That has obviously shifted, yet that does not make it the right thing to do. The plan according to scripture is to get married and make a home and life under God, focused on God, and for God. God’s plan for us sexually is to wait in preparation until marriage, get married, have lots of sex, enjoy your spouse, have kids, and live life to the fullest. We see that play out very seldomly though. What we see is people shack up, break up, rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, there are kids born out of wedlock, that are left out of a two-parent or nuclear home. Studies have shown how much better off a child that grows up in a nuclear home is into adulthood. Financially, we see that people who are not married yet move into a home together and buy it together, usually end up breaking up and fighting over house and stuff.

So stop playing house, get married, be blessed by God, and live happily and fully in His embrace. It is not what the world will tell you to do. It is what God is telling us to do! Re

Modest is Hottest!!

Before I jump in let me start with a warning. I am talking about girls’ attire that is in middle school and high school. Once these kids are out of your homes, it is up to them what they wear.

So over the past weekend there were several Christmas dances at several schools. I saw parents posting pictures and I was left dumbfounded at some of the dresses that parents are allowing their teenage daughters to wear. I was floored actually. Cut down to the navel, split up to the hip, shorter than short, and barely-there was a theme running through a lot of photos. I have a teenage daughter who is tall, thin, beautiful, and has a hard time finding dresses that fit her figure that are not skimpy. So, I get that finding conservative dresses is difficult to do. I also am not one for denim skirts to the floor either. It is ok for a teen girl to dress pretty and nice in a nice dress. It is however a parent’s responsibility to not allow them to dress provocatively.

So how do we address the issue as parents? When my daughter was trying on dresses for prom, she sent me pics. Some I liked, some I loved, some I hated, and some I just said absolutely not. Now, the idea is to have your teen ask your opinion and you have to withstand the urge to say certain things about the dress. Communication is key here. All these teen girls are trying to be “sexy” because that’s the culture around them. let me say this, no teen girl is sexy. As a parent, I do not crush my daughters’ self-esteem by saying anything negative about her appearance. I want to encourage her to feel comfortable in her skin, and for her to understand how important that is. I know so many women that deal with body image issues, and as the father figure, I do not want to add to that issue. I want my daughters to feel comfortable in their skin and understand how much that body is changing and will change going forward. Think about all the women you know that struggle with those issues and are constantly unhappy with their bodies. I, as a parent, do not want to add to that. My oldest daughter is very leggy, meaning she is long-legged and every dress is short on her. So when she asks my opinion I always start out positive. “That color is good” or “That cut is nice” before any critiques I have. It helps open up the conversations. That is the key. I will say as a dad that it is hard to see your little baby daughter growing into a woman. I asked my wife once, “When did our daughter get a woman’s body?” It takes us by surprise. When mine sent me those prom dress photos, I had to take a moment and just realize she’s getting older and that’s tough on us dads.

I also want parents to see the hidden dangers out there too. There is a huge sex trafficking business in America and young teenage girls are a premium. There are creepers and nefarious people out there and they are scouting out our daughters. Lots of money in that business. So modesty goes a long way to cover up a lot of issues on that front. I always tell parents these three things

  1. Do not post pictures of your teenage daughters in their swimsuits online.
  2. Do not allow your daughters to post swimsuit photos on their social media or from their bedrooms.
  3. Always check your privacy settings on your social media. You never know who is watching.

So remember this, modesty springs forth from a conversation about empowerment. I want my daughters to feel comfortable in their skin and love their bodies. It starts with conversations about modesty and develops into tackling the culture’s take on “sexiness”.

TikTok is Bad for Your Teen? No kidding.

An article from the Wall Street Journal came to me from a friend about the dangers of TikTok. I read it and was like, no kidding it is not a place for teens. I could have told you this real quick. Why? The content. However, the Wall Street Journal created dozens of accounts for fictional users between the ages of 13 and 15. The findings should leave parents dumbfounded, but I am sure that parents will not be phased. They found this startling number.

“TikTok served one account registered as a 13-year-old at least 569 videos about drug use, references to cocaine and meth addiction, and promotional videos for online sales of drug products and paraphernalia. Hundreds of similar videos appeared in the feeds of the Journal’s other minor accounts.”

So what is a parent to do? Sadly, most will do nothing and allow their highly impressionable child, and make no mistake, a 13-15 year old is most assuredly a child, to continue on TikTok because of the amount of blowback their child will give them. My advice, get your young kids off of TikTok. It is unhealthy for them. The WSJ article also found that “others encouraged eating disorders and glorified alcohol, including depictions of drinking and driving and of drinking games.” TikTok is like Alice in Wonderland, your kids are Alice and they get lost so quickly down the rabbits hole. They will see things that they shouldn’t be exposed to. Told things about themselves that they shouldn’t be told at that age.

One last point. Their is porn on TikTok. Not your run of the mill porn but porn nonetheless. Porn is about arousal and there is plenty of that on TikTok. For example “I gotta small waist, pretty face with a big bank” TikTok that all these girls do, is by definition porn. I can not even pull up TikTok without seeing at least one of those videos. With TikTok’s powerful algorithm, I will now see more of the same. This is how it is fed to your child. Parents, listen to me, I know we did not have social media growing up, and a return to that would be great, but it is not gonna happen. So be a parent and talk to your kids about it and get them young kids off the TikTok for now.

The Quest For Purity

As a youth pastor, one of the biggest hurdles that I face is talking to students about sex and purity. I will say that our teens are way more sexually active at a younger age and higher pace. They are marinated in a sexualized culture. Sex is everywhere around them. It is prevalent in their movies, tv shows, music, and their social media. They are so imbedded in that culture that telling them to abstain until they get married is a foreign concept to them. I mean just the looks they give, the chuckles, the comments, and the sheer fear in their eyes is enough to try your soul. I am going to give you three things I hear from youth when engaging in talks about sex and sexual relationships.

#1. Monkey See, Monkey Do. This one will step on some parents toes, but truth is truth. If you as a parent are “playing house” or “shacked up” have you stopped to think what message that sends to your kids? Maybe you have a revolving door of lovers or change boyfriends or girlfriends every two months. Maybe you are older and don’t want to mess up your checks. Maybe this, maybe that, whatever the reasons, what are you telling your kids? The phrase “more is caught than taught” is exactly what happens when it comes to teens observing their parents and their parents relationship. If you as a parent are casual in your sexual exploits, your kids will be too. If you are cool with significant others living with and then moving out, your kids will be too. Oh and by the way, your kids hate that. I hear it all the time how much teens hate their parents moving somebody in and then moving them out when it all falls apart and the drama it causes. Teens crave a safe place and a steady foundation. A revolving door of lovers just does not supply that foundation.

#2. How far is too far? I get this question a lot from teens. Now parents, hold on, it is about to get rough and real. Teens want to know where the line is. Is oral sex too far? Is anal sex too far? Is mutual masturbation too far? Is kissing too far? Is hand holding too far? Is this too far or that too far? They are looking for lines in the sand and the problem is, there is no line in the sand. The issue is a spiritual issue. Jesus calls us to live Holy lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” This is where the main issue lies. Purity is a Holiness issue. How do we become Holy in our sex lives? See you can not tell a teen where a boundary line is because they will push against that boundary ever single time. You have to start with their mind and their soul. We will talk about their mind in the next point, but their soul is all about their salvation. If they know Jesus and have accepted Jesus, then their soul is secure for eternity. Now comes the path of sanctification. Sanctification is a fancy theology word that means the process of becoming Holy. Heres the good news, we will never be completely Holy here on Earth, we will receive perfection and Holiness when we come into Heaven. That is great news for us. Now the bad news, here on Earth after we are saved we begin a journey down the path of Sanctification. This path is the learning path. It requires disciple, prayer, growth of Christian character, and grace. It is here where a lot of Christians fail to discipline their sexual characteristics. Teens need guidance in their lives in all facets. My last blog was about money, where teens definitely need guidance. Well, sex is another place where they need guidance. You as the parent are equipped to give that guidance. When we talk about purity, the only people talking about it that your teens here from should not be the pastor, the youth pastor and some random person at school. It starts at home. It starts with you parents. Here is a tip parents, it needs to start earlier than you think. The age of the first exposure to porn is 12. So before 12, you have to be talking to them about sex and all the things around sex. Heres a little phrase for you to keep in mind. “Your kids are going to talk to someone about sex, who is it going to be?”

#3. G.I.G.O. This is a computer term for Garbage In Garbage Out. This is where the mind comes into play. Our culture is saturated with sex. Last summer I made a Facebook Post about the song W.A.P. and asked the parents if they knew about it and the TikTok dancing to go with it. Most parents did not. One parent messaged me about her conversation with her then 8th grade daughter. She asked her teen if she knew what it meant and said the color left her face and she stuttered, yes. Mom asked her what it meant and she said I can’t say that to you! Them mom responded with what I think is an absolute gem of a parenting quote. “Well if you cannot say it to me maybe you shouldn’t be listening to it.” No judgement, no rash behavior, just good clean communication in the parenting. As parents we have to be diligent about our kids social media. As the father to a teenage son, it is amazing how many half naked girls are on social media these days and are not afraid to show it off for these teenage boys. So I have to be diligent about keeping up with his social media inbox and text messages. At my house we do talk a lot about sex. It is not a off limit, hushed topic. It is front and center and talked about. It is not something any teen should be ashamed or embarrassed about. What we have done and continue to do is monitor the types of music, types of shows, and types of movies that we allow to be watched. We keep an eye on the friends, girlfriends, and people in their lives. We encourage healthy communication about sex. Is it easy? No. Is keeping an observant eye easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes.

How many people have broken lives, broken hearts, and broken families because of sex? The number is super high and it may be you. Our teens are not immune to it either. “He said he loved me!” I have heard more teenage girls say that to me than I would care to admit after a boy played them and was only interested in the sex. What is left is a teenage girl who is broken, guilty, and ashamed and that is not how God wants us to live. It is why sex is for marriage and marriage only. It works best in that design. So what do I tell those girls? My standard answer is that God forgives, forgets, renews us, and strengthens us anew. As the father of a teenage boy, I have always guided Him that a Godly man waits until marriage and does not force girls or manipulate girls into anything. The idea is that as the future head of the household, a man leads himself, his wife and his kids to be Holy. That starts the first date. He should lead her to be Holy. Not spiritual, which is based on feelings and appearances , but Holiness based on Jesus and His plan. A couple that follows that plan has nothing but the opportunity for success.

Parents, talk to your kids about sex often. Keep a tab on their media intake and most importantly, model a Godly example in your own lives. If you struggle with that part, find you a local church and get plugged in. Read that Bible and seek God in prayer. I know that seems old school and old fashioned but it works!!

Money Habits Start Early

For the past five or six years I have taught a program at a local community college in Adult Education. Most of my students are coming through my course to get credit for the High School Diploma or their GED. During this time I always ask two questions. First, did your parents talk to you about sex while growing up? Secondly, did your parents talk to you about money growing up? I can count on one hand the amount of students who say their parents did talk to them about either subject. That is a total disservice to these students. The two problems most adults struggle with are sex and money. They plague our society, they are out of control across the country, and rampant in the church. We have to do better about educating our teens about their financial future. Let me give you this thought. At 18 years old teens are given the reins to a student loans that could lead them to debt up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, where as 3 months ago they had to ask permission to go to the bathroom. We have a student loan crisis in this country right now. Over 44 million Americans hold over 1.6 BILLION dollars in student loan debt. The average student loan debt is $36,510 per person. Our teens are going to become one of those statistics if we do not educate them on finances. So where to even start? Lets look at three p[laces to begin.

Save, Spend, and Give. Those are the three places to begin with when laying a personal financial foundation. Everything builds on this concept. Savings morphs into college tuition and later in life morphs into retirement. Spending gives limits. We live in a world where we are constantly told we have to have the next newest thing or this popular item. We love credit and credit is nothing more than accumulated debt. So a rule here is to only spend cash for what you want. Finally, giving. This is the one most people struggle with. Why? Because it is not natural to us. As Christians we are instructed to give a “tithe’ to God through our local church. Tithe is an old Hebrew word for tenth. So 10% of our income should go to our tithe. Now a question I hear often is, “What if I am not a Christian?” and my advice is to find a charity of your choice to give to. Why? Because giving teaches us that our money flows and we control where it flows. Besides, who doesn’t love to help people?

College Tuition. This one is going to be directed at parents. I hear all the time the phrase, “I want my kid to go to _________________.” Now if you as a parent are going to pay your kids way to said college, then you can make that statement. If you are not paying for your kids college, then let me say this gently, help them make the best financial decision that you can. Look close to home. Look for scholarships. Look at a community college. Look at a trade school. Look at your kid. Do not get caught in the trap of “what will people say” nonsense. If your child cannot afford to go to the major university, or if they just are not ready to go off to college, it is not a personal offense to you. We ask college students all the time this question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and the majority have no clue. If that is your student, do not send them to college, send them to work. Let them work, make money, spend, save, and give with that money, and figure out what they want to do. It is why the dropout or “retention rate” at colleges are so low, students are not focused on a bullseye and therefore they hit nothing. Want to know how much a college degree is going to cost your kid? Go here: https://www.ramseysolutions.com/saving/college-savings-calculator

Monkey see, monkey do. Sure it is an old saying but it is true when it comes to finances. These kids see how you are with money. Do you talk about it in hushed quite tones. Do you struggle with keeping the lights on? For some unknown reason we just do not talk to our kids about money and expect the school to teach them personal finance. I hear it all the time, ” I wish they taught personal finance at the high school.” Ummm, no you don’t. Most of them are struggling financially. Teach it at home. Model it in your financial behavior, and for goodness sakes, talk to your kids about money. Teach them what a budget is. Talk about IRA’s and 401ks. If you do not know about them yourself, learn. Go here: https://www.ramseysolutions.com/retirement Just take the time to learn and teach your kids the important financial lessons. Let them know about your money issues both success and failures. I am a 45 year old man, only child, and I have no clue about my parents money situation. I am sure there are or were lessons to learn about finances or investing. So do not let your kids miss out on those lessons because you do not want to talk money or admit that your finances are a huge hot mess. Maybe if you address the problem you will seek solutions, and your kids will watch and learn.

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