Tag Archives: family

Christian Stress Relief

I’m thinking about family this morning; not physical family but the larger house of God. If you’ve been with us lately, we’ve talked some about being God’s people and he being our God. Those were his words through inspiration to the Patriarchs and later, to the Hebrews (Genesis 17:8; Exodus 29:49; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27). Those words also echo to us from John’s report of the Revelation. Concerning our heavenly estate, the Lord declares, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

The Bible also speaks of the adopted family that belongs to the Father (Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). The church is the family of God. Our physical attributes vary widely, but we have all been granted a place in the family.

It’s precious. It’s beyond value.

So when stress arises in the family, it ought to be dealt with fairly and quickly. Grudges have no place in this house. There must be no rivalry. We share a common mission, a common foe, and a common name: Christian.

[bctt tweet=”So when stress arises in the family, it ought to be dealt with fairly and quickly. Grudges have no place in this house.” username=”Preachers_Study”]

Christian Stress Relief: Know the Facts

Tension often comes because of cloudy facts or uncertainties. We owe it to our brothers and sisters to be clear on the facts related to any possible conflict. Rumors are like a nasty cold virus; they don’t require much to spread. When questions arise about a brother we must quickly learn the true facts before ever saying a word to someone else.

A man was once publically accused of a crime. He was arrested, jailed and brought to trial. The trial proved his innocence and he was set free. But his name had been tainted. He was ruined. His comment to reporters? “Where do I go to get my life back?”

Isn’t this the heart of the Golden Rule? Would you not want someone to inquire of you before raising unfounded suspicions among others (Matthew 7:12)?

[bctt tweet=”Isn’t this the heart of the Golden Rule? Would you not want someone to inquire of you before raising unfounded suspicions among others (Matthew 7:12)?” username=”Preachers_Study”]

Christian Stress Relief: Privacy

Privacy is the by-word of our very public life. If you have any kind of online presence you are subject to having private details about your life stolen. (As I write this, Facebook is trying to cleanup after 50 million users had their information stolen). We should respect the privacy of our brothers and sisters too.

None of us are without sin (c.f. John 8:7; Romans 2:1, 22) and ought be very careful about the way we deal with other sinners. Jesus offers the perfect principle in Matthew 18:15ff: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.”

“Alone” did not include others.

You did not take the rabbi, you did not take the ruler of the synagogue. You did not take a member of the Sanhedrin. You went alone. Such a singular approach protects the privacy and dignity of the brother, limits embarrassment, precludes the damage of a misunderstanding and prevents the offended brother from being publicly scorned for spreading rumors.

Family is too important to shatter over a misunderstanding. It is more than reasonable to take very step to thwart trouble among brethren.

There are times when a public approach is needed. We’ll talk about those next time. I suspect, I sure do not know, that over 90% of all family disagreements can be solved privately. We should at least try, don’t you think?



Old School: Lessons from My Daddy

Willis Bryant Evans, born November 28, 1921, to Arthur Lee and Roselle Evans. He was the third of three boys. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and saw action in Europe, including at D-Day and at Bastogne, Belgium and the Battle of the Bulge. Upon his return to civilian life, he attended the University of Alabama but dropped out after two years. He began a sales career that ended with a very successful time as a new car salesman for Chevrolet. His parents were among the first Christians in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He would serve the church of Christ in Northport, Alabama as a Bible class teacher and deacon until his death in 1987. He was known as Mr. Evans, Clem, Bobo and the Big Tuna. I called him daddy.

I learned much from this wise man. I’d like to share some of that with you.

Pay Attention When You Shave.

Many mornings, dad would leave for work with small pieces of toilet paper stuck to his face. He’s cut himself shaving. Pay attention to what you are doing he would warn.

Good fathers teach their children about life. Our kids haven’t been down this road before, and we have. Despite the incredible level of intelligence many children possess, they are not always wise. They need a father to help guide them through the rough spots. Jesus had an earthly father who likely taught him about life. If our Lord needed a father in his youth, our children do too.

Pay Your Bills On Time

I will never forget daddy’s spiral bound notebook. Each month had a page, and on this page, he would record every bill as it arrived. When he paid the bill, he would circle it. He could tell you how much his water bill was from five years ago. You see, we were not wealthy, but we never wanted for anything important. When I got my first car loan, it was based only on his name. They didn’t even run my credit. In fact, the banker was not even there when I showed up. He left the papers with a note telling me where to sign. Why? Because he knew my dad.

The Bible teaches us that we should always be honest people (Matthew 5:37; Proverbs 6:1-5). We manage our money; not the other way around (1 Timothy 6:6-10). Good fathers strive to teach their children important lessons.

God Always Comes First

Daddy was sick for the last few years of his life and was hospitalized some. He couldn’t attend services. But I never remember a single time daddy missed services otherwise – not one. He was a picture of commitment and devotion to his Lord. If there was a gospel meeting, we were there every night. We attended on Sunday and on Wednesday for midweek Bible study. We went because it was a time to honor God and deepen our own knowledge of his word. Plus, we knew that there was extraordinary value in fellowship with God’s people.

Daddy’s dream was for me to preach the gospel. He never saw me preach fulltime, but he made sure I was prepared. Daddy died exactly one month before my graduation with a degree in Bible, but I assure you that today, he is with me every time I step into the pulpit.

I was blessed by such a great man as the leader of my family. His is a standard I shall never reach although I try. I pray that every father reading this will consider the vital marks of a great father and pursue them relentlessly. Our sons and daughters need fathers who are fully engaged in parenting. Are you?


Does Christmas Seem Empty to You?

Christmas EmptyAmidst the twinkling lights, snowmen, and the aromas of a Christmas kitchen, there seems to me an expanding emptiness during the holidays. As a child in Northport, Alabama, I recall the smell of a live Christmas tree in our living room. I would lay beneath its limbs like a giant Christmas present and watch the gentle glow of the lights. Mom would call me to help with the Christmas cookies, although my “help” was probably the last thing she needed. She would let me roll out the cookie dough using an old wooden rolling pin. Then, she would carefully guide me as used the cookie cutters to make Santas, reindeer, and Christmas trees.  I remember aunts, uncles, and cousins coming to our home for a great banquet. I don’t remember the food so much as I recall the laughter and love that adorned our table. There were gifts aplenty, but they were almost the afterthought. Our main reason for shopping was to see the decorations at Woolworth’s, Sears-Roebuck. and the Buick dealership.

It’s different now. Have you noticed?

Many writers better than me have bemoaned the descent of the holidays into a commerce laden period of buying and selling. But I am thinking of something slightly different. How do you feel when you cannot meet the standard set by advertisers for the best Christmas gift? Ads run the spectrum from a Bob Ross Chia Pet to the “Cadillac you’ve always wanted.” What if you still can’t buy that Cadillac? What if you’re so broke you can’t even pay attention? Do the holidays become less important to you? They shouldn’t.

It may be that you feel empty because you do not have, nor can you obtain, enough stuff. It seems the emptiness can only be filled by purchased items.

There is hope because the Bible teaches otherwise. When Peter and John encountered a lame man at the Temple (Acts 3:1 ff), they gave him something greater than silver and gold (Acts 3:6). Money could not buy the happiness that filled him after his healing (vs. 8).

Solomon, endowed with extraordinary wealth and wisdom, tried to find happiness in possessions. His conclusions? He said, “all was vanity and a striving after the wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). The condition of a man with every possession, but unable to enjoy his wealth, is described as a “grievous evil” (Ecclesiastes 6:2). In summation, Solomon concludes that the whole duty of man is to “fear God and keep his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Jesus says it better in Matthew 6:33, “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” The secret of a fulfilled and happy life is found in serving and giving to others. Jesus said, “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

Try as they might, advertisers cannot supplant Jesus as the giver of a full life. They tell us that happiness comes in a new car, diamonds, video games, and such. They knowingly produce guilt to drive us to purchase more and more stuff; none of which satisfies for long.

Jesus, however, teaches the opposite. Try Jesus’ way and shun the advertiser’s claims. Stop! Listen! What do you hear? The sound of an advertiser’s jingle or the sound of a loving family? The latter, I pray.


Are We Too Busy?


Life is busy, and it seems to be getting busier every day. Supposedly, there was a time when life was simpler; we were not as busy, and we spent more time at home. But those days, if they ever existed, are now a part of distant history. Today, we seem to be so busy that we barely have time for family and the most important things in life let alone our devotion to Jesus. Would it not be wonderful if we could find simplicity in our lives?  Would it not be wonderful if we could have the time to do the most important things while pushing less important items further into our schedule?

One of the most important things in life, yet, one of the things that gets pushed out of our schedule, is our daily devotional time with the Lord. When was the last time that you had one full hour to enjoy being in the presence of God without distraction? When was the last time you prayed fervently to God without interruption? How can we improve our schedules to include more time the Lord? In his inspired wisdom, Solomon reminds us that there is a time for everything in life (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). We struggle because we fail to keep things in their appropriate priorities. Routine events have a way of becoming urgent events. The most important things in life are squeezed out because of these non-emergency urgencies.


We create trouble for ourselves when we procrastinate. A television comedy actor once said, “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” As silly as that sounds, it has become the norm for many people today. The magazine Psychology Today, suggests that as many as 20% of Americans are chronic procrastinators. The magazine notes that procrastination is not a problem of time management but a problem of self-regulation. Another way of saying it is that we have a problem with self-discipline. ((Psychology Today, at https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200308/procrastination-ten-things-know))

The Bible frequently speaks of discipline. While it may mean some form of physical punishment, such is not always the case. Paul said that he disciplined his body space to bring it into subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27). Jewish King Herod Agrippa, new of Jesus and was acquainted with the church, but Agrippa would not submit to the Lord. Paul tried to encourage him, but his procrastination persisted (Acts 26:24-29).

We might find a happier, simpler life if we would learn not to procrastinate.


Every person has the power to set their priorities. While there are true emergencies that we must deal  with, we control everything else. To lead a simpler godlier life, we must set the right priorities.

The classic biblical text on priorities is certainly Matthew 6:33. Jesus says, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Few would argue that the improvement of our spiritual life is the most important task we face. The strength of our faith affects every task and responsibility we have. Unless we make our faith a priority, we will struggle with every other aspect of our life. Following Jesus is demanding. Even the Lord himself acknowledged the sacrifices that must be made to serve him. In Matthew 10: 37, Jesus declared that we must put him first even before our families.

When our first priority is Christ, the remainder of our life will be well ordered, much simpler, and we will be far happier.

We must not allow less important matters to distract from the most important matters. Determine now to put God first in your life. Resist the cries of the insignificant and pursue those things that bring righteousness and eternal life.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.

Resolved: 4 Simple Steps for 2015

2015 Let’s do something a little different today. Let’s make 5 New Year’s resolutions that we can actually keep. I’m the worst at keep resolutions. If I make it to January 2nd it’s a big accomplishment. I want to do something different this year and commit to doing some things that I can really stick with and accomplish.

There are many great posts about the coming year. I think people are ready for a fresh start and are glad to put 2014 in the history books. For me, I want to just cut out the last 6 months and pretend they didn’t happen. The first 6 were really great but the last half really stunk things up.

Some of the posts really focus on Bible reading. I’m all for that. I’ll be reading my Bible more this year. But the idea of covering X-number of chapters per day doesn’t appeal to me. Some chapters I can read through speedily while others seem much weightier and cry out for deeper study.

Some are focusing on church attendance. That’s a good goal too and certainly Christians need to work harder on attendance, but that’s a little hollow too. Simply showing up at the appointed hour doesn’t mean much. There is a better way to approach things. [bctt tweet=”2015 will only be as good as you make it.”]

In 2015 resolve to put your heart fully into your Christian walk. Here are 4 suggestions for your consideration.

Walk Closer to Jesus

It may be that you need to read your Bible more, It may be that you need to pray more. It may be that you need to be more involved. It may be that you need all of the above. But draw near to Jesus and those things easily follow. Zero in on your relationship with him and make him the focus of your life.

[bctt tweet=”There is no better resolution than to walk with Jesus daily.”]

Walk Closer to Your Family

I’ve never met a person who was satisfied with their relationship with their family. When the world closes in the family suffers. When our business needs us we usually must take time from our family to satisfy our boss. This year, devote more time to family and less to work. You will one day retire from your wo

Walk With Your Heart

Have you ever wanted to do something but did not because it wasn’t wise or prudent? This year, follow your heart. I have a secret admiration for people who hitchhike from one place to another. They are unbound and free to go where their heart takes them. They give up a lot, more than I am willing to surrender, but they follow their hearts. This year, spend more time letting your heart dictate your days.

Walk Unplugged

One writer says becoming “unplugged” is the number 5 most popular tweet this year. People have grown tired of smartphones, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. They remember a simpler time when people talked to each other with voices. Here’s a thought: Spend more time looking at the faces of your loved ones that at the screen of your phone.

I’m looking forward to a better year in 2015 and I believe these simple steps will help.

Happy New Year!

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.


The UnFather

Paris_psaulter_gr139_fol136vTruly good fathers are uncommon. Most men desire to be exemplary fathers but few succeed. Despite their best attempts all fathers stumble and none are perfect. Failure happens. Hopefully our failures are not catastrophic and we find ways to recover. But failures can discourage. Sometimes a man may be tempted to throw his hands up in despair and surrender. He reasons that there is no sense in trying because he falls so often.

To give up is the greatest failure of all.

“Jehovah hath sought him a man after his own heart” – 1 Samuel 13:14

David was surely one of the great men of Scripture. Samuel speaks of him as a man after God’s own heart. He is appointed king over God’s people. He is an ancestor of Jesus and figures prominently in Peter’s sermon on Pentecost. David is even mentioned in the Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews 11. Surely, if anyone was going to be a great man and a perfect father it would David. You might think so but you would be mistaken.

David was the patriarch over one of the most dysfunctional families in the Bible.

Here is what we know about David:

  • He took and committed adultery with the wife of a soldier who was fighting for the nation (2 Samuel 11:3-5).
  • When he heard she was pregnant he tried to cover up his sin (2 Samuel 11:6-18).
  • When his plan failed, he arranged to have the man killed and then took his wife for his own (2 Samuel 11:26-27).
  • David had children by different wives. One of them raped his half-sister, David’s daughter (2 Samuel 13:1 ff).
  • Although David knew of the rape and was angry he did nothing (2 Samuel 13:14, 21, 23).
  • Another son sought vengeance for his sister by murdering the rapist half-brother (2 Samuel 13:23 ff).
  • David did nothing about the rape or the murder. The son fled and David did not seek after him (2 Samuel 13:37-39).
  • The murdering son eventually returns and almost seizes the kingdom from his father. He dies on the process (2 Samuel 15:1 ff, 2 Samuel 18:15).
  • As he lay dying, one of his sons conspired to gain control of the throne (1 Kings 1:5-8).

Every family has its problems but David had a mess. Wickedness ran rampant in the family and much of it can be traced directly to David’s lax fathering. Nevertheless, this is the man called a man after God’s own heart. It was also this man who fathered Solomon, the wisest man ever and the author of Proverbs. David penned the immortal Psalms as he poured his heart out to God.

Our point is simple: Fathering is not about perfection. It is about seeking God with all of your heart, acknowledging failures and moving onward. When David’s sin with Bathsheba was known, he did not try to hide his responsibility nor did he wallow in self-loathing and pity. He accepted responsibility and moved ahead (2 Samuel 12:1-25).

Fathers, you will stumble and you will fail. Each time, your reaction will determine your legacy. Do not give up. Your children need you. They need your example of dedication. The only way you fail is when you give up on them and on God.


 Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Legendary Fathers

Great fathers are the stuff of legends. Today, more than ever, great fathers are rare. There are many men who bear the title but fewer and fewer are really worthy of being called a legend. At the same time, it seems that many men want to be good fathers but have never learned how. Perhaps they never had an example of a good father in their own lives. We offer some ideas that can take a common man and put him on the road to greatness.

Legendary Fathers are Godly Men

The heroic knights of old were subservient to their king. The vaunted Samurai of the ancient Japanese empires were servants to wealthy landholders and to the Emperor. Today, the very best fathers are men who serve the risen Christ constantly.

Twice, Paul said that “at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow” (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10). The Christian father demonstrates his loyalty to Jesus through his daily actions. He shows his love for Christ by placing his love for Him even before that of his family. There is nothing above his commitment to God (Luke 12:46; Matthew 6:33).

When a truly legendary father dies, his children will first declare that he was a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Do you wish to be a legend? Serve God first.

Legendary Fathers Invest Time in their Children

Much has been said about the difference between quality of time and quantity of time as if you cannot have both. Probably, this idea arose as an excuse for men who spend too much time on the job. The truth is that you can be a legendary father or a legendary worker but you cannot be both. Something must come first (Matthew 6:24).

Because our success in our culture is predicated upon the accumulation of wealth and tangible property, we no longer value as much the priceless accumulation of memories and shared time. What a shame. Understand, reader, wealth is nice but it is not necessary. Paul wrote,

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

To invest hours in your children is far superior to investing dollars. The payout is much greater.

Become a legend to your children, Fathers. They need real heroes that can be seen, touched and talked to.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans



“A strong desire, longing or aim; ambition; a goal or objective desired.”

How do men become fathers? Men become fathers through the biological process of sex. But how does one become a daddy? That has nothing at all to do with sex.

One becomes a dad by observing other men already in the role. Hopefully their model is a good one and teaches them sound principles for parenting. I’m convinced that you can’t become a good dad except by observation. That’s a pretty strong statement so let me explain.

CNN reports that over 20 million children will awake this morning without a father in the house. That’s about 1 in 4. Those who are actually “dads” would be far less. Continue reading Aspiration

Walk Away – Defuse an Argument

The best way to clean up after an explosion is to prevent it from happening. It’s true in the physical world and in the home. If you can stop the bomb from exploding you will be in much better shape. Sometimes the best way to prevent a painful destructive argument is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This article offers a way to keep peace in the family.

Arguments Happen

No matter how strong the marriage, arguments happen. Each person has his and her own ideas, goals and plans. Invariably those plans will sometimes clash. How we handle those clashing moments is critical to the peace and tranquility of the family.

Young people often enter marriage thinking that love will conquer all. True love does. But it may take a while before we can fully reach that stage of a relationship. Love is not a feeling but decision. Specifically it is giving our best to an imperfect person even when that person does not give it back. It’s the kind of love that Christ has for all men.

There are times when we just don’t get a long. Prepare for those times and you will enjoy a better outcome.

Defuse the Argument

There are times when it is best to let things quieten down a bit and then resume a discussion instead of an argument. Continue reading Walk Away – Defuse an Argument

Father’s Are Needed

I awoke Sunday morning to an awful set of articles that were published on Father’s Day and which bashed and smashed fatherhood in general. First came a story in the Washington Post about a father, suffering with cancer, trying to ensure his daughters are well cared for by a team of Dads who will carry on after his death. It’s a touching story of a Dad who loves his daughters and is doing all he can to provide for their future. But oddly he began his story, and overshadowed it, by telling us that Dads are, according to the science-gods, not that important.

He bases his conclusions on a report this month from the magazine Atlantic. Author Pamela Paul ((Paul authored Pornified, a book I have praised and used in our series here on pornography.)) wrote Are Fathers Necessary? for the July/August 2010 edition of the popular magazine. Paul based her article on a study, 6 months old and previously released, published in the scholarly Journal of Marriage and Family.

Now here’s the gist of the study: There is no scientific proof that children need both a father and a mother. Two homosexual women are just as good, better if  you read closely, than a heterosexual couple. By extension, it seems the same could be said about two homosexual men verses a heterosexual couple. The study, which supposedly bashes men, actually does not. It attacks traditional, heterosexual parenting! Continue reading Father’s Are Needed