Why Christians Need to Stop Silly Fights

“What are the benefits of public school,” a person asked on Twitter.

I answered, “You learn how to get along with people who are different from you.”

Instantly without any notice I was ambushed on Twitter by home schoolers who thought I said ‘home-schooling is Satanic.’ I said nothing about home-schooling. I answered a question about public school.

Unfortunately I innocently stepped into the middle of a conversation launched by a blogger pitching his pro-home school post. The Christian blogger had an agenda and he used me to launch his crusade against public school. I quickly bowed out of this accidental argument and called out the blogger’s agenda.

The home-school versus public school is one of those silly fights Christians tend to get into in the name of God. My friend Lee Grady posted an article about how Christians misuse the Bible. One way we pervert the Bible is when we attack each other with scriptures. We think we’re defending God’s honor and the truth when we’re justifying our position at our friend’s expense.

The home-school versus public school is one of the many silly wars we fight. I’ve seen these battles as well:

  • Moms with children who work outside of the home versus moms with children who stay at home
  • Purposefully single versus marrieds
  • Purposefully childless couples versus marrieds with children

And the list goes on and on. I was in a church where the pastor’s wife wanted to debate me about my decision to work outside of the home. My mom just died and I had a baby. I was not in the mood for an open debate about my decision to work.

I respectfully told the pastor’s wife that the decision to work was between me and God and my husband. We believed the job was a financial blessing and my children were being taken care of. “I think you’ve crossed some boundaries here,” I said.

A week later she called crying and repenting for her mistake. I was thankful she responded but my guard was up in that relationship. That was the beginning of the end for me for that church.

While I’m a firm believer in seeking wisdom and counsel from respected, trusted leaders, I believe these issues, among many, are between you and God:

  • Taking birth control
  • Have kids or not have kids
  • Get married or stay single
  • How you date
  • Where you live
  • What you do for a living
  • How you spend your money
  • How you decide to educate your child

Some people can’t afford to send their child to a private Christian school or lose income from a working adult. Instead of judging them for their decision to send their child to a public school, why not pay their way to a private Christian school? Paying for their tuition is a more constructive way of addressing your conviction about private Christian education instead of berating the parent for subjecting their child to the ‘liberal agenda.’

Christians who fight silly wars are at-risk for breaking this scriptural guideline for relationships:

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.[a] If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.  God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

Who are you to judge your neighbor because….

  • They send their child to a public school
  • They home-school
  • He/she doesn’t want to get married
  • He/she doesn’t want to have children
  • He/she wants to have a big family
  • She has children and doesn’t want to work
  • She has children and wants to work
  • He/she drives an expensive sports car or an older vehicle
  • He/she is a different race, gender or economic class

Who are you to judge?

Instead of judging, let’s love by praying and caring for one another. Let’s fight for another, stand with another and respect each other’s decision. Help an overwhelmed parent. Bring a meal. Take care of their kids. Celebrate life!

Tell me about a silly war you may have accidentally stepped into.

 

How One Woman’s Prayer Changed Nations

stevejeromericelinda

My heroes of the faith (from right to left): Steve Murrell, founder of hundreds of churches in the Philippines, author, blogger extraordinaire; my husband Jerome; Rice Broocks, author of God’s Not Dead, apologetics speaker and founder of Every Nation Ministries; Linda, the one who prayed these guys into her husband’s church; Walter, the pastor who influenced Steve, Jerome and Rice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Do not despise these small beginnings….” Zechariah 4:10

A young pastor’s wife in a little college town in Mississippi fasted and prayed that God would send leaders to their church. On the fifth day of fasting, Rice Broocks walked in the door. Steve Murrell also joined that tiny church as a student at Mississippi Student University and became room mates with my future husband, Jerome, a college track star.

The pastor was Walter Walker who in a few years would travel around the world with a teaching ministry. Walter would speak to a small group of college students at the University of Hawaii about discovering God’s will for your life. A sophomore student in Political Science hears that message and God calls her to write. The next day she enrolls in the school of journalism.

The journalism student would spend weekends holed up in her tiny bedroom in a Honolulu apartment listening to Rice Broock’s messages about faith. She would laugh until her sides hurt at Rice’s stories when he spoke at a campus outreach meeting about a guy named Jerome who fried chicken necks for their dinner. “He piled them on a platter in the middle of the table,” Rice said. “And then he said, ‘eat up.’”

Approximately 10 years later, the journalism graduate would walk down the aisle to marry chicken neck chef Jerome. Sixteen years later, the journalism student who became a writer and editor with her husband would have lunch with the pastor who inspired her to write, the evangelist who preached faith through his cassette tapes and the pastor who founded hundreds of churches in the Philippines. They met for lunch at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville, TN.

Since those days of eating chicken necks, Rice has written the God’s Not Dead books and founded Every Nation Ministries, a network of hundreds of churches around the world on university campuses. Steve and his wife, Deborah, came through Hawaii briefly on their way to a month long missions trip in the University Belt of Manila. That month long trip would turn into decades of planting hundreds of churches.

The woman who prayed for those future leaders, Linda, was also at the lunch. Jerome and our family stayed with Walter and Linda in Franklin, TN. I would have never thought in a million years that we would meet Jerome’s college roommates who have influenced millions of people around the world or his first pastor, Walter, who pastored Rice and Steve.

Linda’s fasting and praying has changed nations through Rice and Steve. She is one of the funniest, most outgoing women that I know who loves God. Her story spurred me to pray for the next generation of leaders. You could have a “Rice” or “Steve” right under your nose without realizing it. Right now they look like a sassy know-it-all millennial with a man-bun but they could be an apostle or pastor in the making. They just need someone to believe in them and invest in them.

Rice laughingly recalled how he was rebuked daily by Pastor Walter. But Rice was also an encouragement to Walter. Rice, Steve, Walter and Jerome’s friendships brought a flood of memories and lots of laughs as we recalled the ministry we were all involved in. I encourage you to invest in someone by being their friend and praying for them. You have no idea who that person is destined to become. And you have no idea where God can take people from small beginnings.

When Your Pastor Sins

prisonMy first pastor, “Frank,”* who was like a big brother and father to me is in prison. I don’t want to say why he is in prison but the reason shocked me. When I found out that he was in prison, my first response to was to cut off every connection to him and banish him from my life.

Then a close friend of mine convicted me. My friend Bob* deposits money into his prison account every month so he can purchase stuff that he needs. Bob told me that he deposits money into his prison account because Frank was the only leader in his life at that time that cared about him as a person.*

“He was the only one who asked me if I had a 401K set up,” he said. “He was concerned that I was in the full-time ministry and not taking care of my future.” This same pastor called some of his friends when I couldn’t pay for my tuition that semester.

Pastor Frank also helped me when I was writing one of the biggest speeches in my life. He gave me advice that I follow to this day which is, “speak from the heart.” He gave me my first ‘job’ in the church and trusted me to become the leader that I didn’t believe I could ever become. He invested in me and I banished him from my life because he sinned.

Looking back on that episode when the news broke, I remember wondering why there wasn’t any way he could get help for this problem. I don’t know what efforts Frank took to seek help but knowing the church in general, there isn’t a lot of help he could have received.

Pastor Frank’s sin caused some people to doubt the validity of the church and their faith in God. I’ve continued to follow God but realized after reading Danny Silk’s “Keep Your Love On” how I judged him and kicked a servant of God out of my life. Even though Pastor Frank is in prison, he is still a child of God whether I like it or not.

Danny Silk talks about “the sin problem” in the book. I’ve never heard anyone explain what has disturbed me over the 30+ years I’ve been a member of various churches. I’ve done what he says…

“If you happen to burst this bubble of delusion by making a mess then you are punished – usually by people turning their love off and disconnecting from you. Or, your home group leader or pastor or some random church lady will tell you to knock it off and get your act together so the image of ‘spotless’ can be maintained for the public. You quickly learn that if you want to preserve ‘relationship’ in the church, then you cannot show people the truth of who you are. You must submit to control by hiding, performing and agreeing.”

“Church leaders have to pretend that they don’t ever sin. If you ever expect to move up the ladder of church leadership, then you have to become pretty fabulous at keeping secrets. ‘This next level here, this is where we put you in charge of stuff. Now, this one right here is when you have a toilet in your house, but you have to act like you never use it. And people at this level here, well … they don’t use the toilet. Finally, this level would be senior leadership. That’s when they actually come to your house and remove the toilet.”

“Maintaining the illusion that absolutely no sin exists at the top of the ladder creates ridiculous gap between regular people, who sin, and leaders, who supposedly do not. It turns leaders into liars, because they are not allowed to be real people anymore. This only sets them up for isolation and a fall.” Keep Your Love On, page 153

I’ve fallen into the pattern of hiding, performing and agreeing. I’ve worked for pastors and I know the load and expectations they are forced to live up to is inhuman. I’ve wondered if Pastor Frank had a safe place to admit his struggle if he would have ended up in prison? Or maybe he did find a safe spot to get help but refused it? I don’t know the back story of his struggle but I know regular church folk like me need to let our leaders sin.

Yes, you heard me right. Let your leaders be human and sin.

Your pastor or leader is going to disappoint you and offend you. They are going to freak you out or make you mad. But what we do with the disappointment, offense and being freaked out determines the depth and longevity of your relationship with God.

I’m convinced that God is far more gracious with His servants than I am. Let’s look at some of the leaders that He called. King David had a guy killed and married his wife. Samson liked pretty women. Abraham’s father, Terah, made idols. When Abraham’s wife told him to sleep with her servant, he did not hesitate. God is a Father through the good, the bad and ugly in their lives. Most of the leaders God picked would not be selected by the church search committee for a pastor.

After all, Pastor Frank isn’t God. He is a flesh and blood man who answered a call to plant a church in a city that he had never been in to reach a group of punk college kids like me who had never stepped in a church. He helped me find my first apartment. He helped me with my first ministry job. I thank God for sending Pastor Frank into my life when I was an unstable, worldly 18-year-old beach bum. He was the first leader that believed in me and I tossed him out of my life.

After reading Danny Silk’s book, I’m going to correct that. If you’re a regular church member, I encourage you to not be offended, disappointed or freaked out when you see your pastor lose their temper or their humanity. Let them be human because you are human. Pray for them and stand with them even if they end up in prison.

*Names changed to protect their privacy.

When God Rips Your Mask Off

removing-mask

Photo Credit: Steph Robbins

Genesis or the book of beginnings launches the story of a man and woman who had everything and lost it with a lie. That lie from the enemy sent Adam and Eve into hiding. When God came looking for them, they were afraid and ashamed at their nakedness.

“Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. (Genesis 3: 9-11)

Adam and Eve lived in the garden of their dreams with the glory of God as their covering with no shame. “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:25)

Yet even in this perfect environment, Adam and Eve still fell for the lie that God was hiding something from them. Their disobedience released shame into mankind and we have lived with the effects by growing accustomed to wearing a mask and having a hidden agenda. Steve Brown is a long-time pastor, seminary professor, radio show host and author of Hidden Agenda: Dropping the Masks That Keep Us Apart. Brown shares his own journey of how God removed the mask of religious success with humorous anecdotes of his own experiences such as failing at speaking at a conference of leaders who he wanted to impress.

“I will never remove my mask or set aside my agendas as long as I think Christianity is about fixing me and others, building empires, changing the world, making my life count, correcting doctrinal truth, promoting programs, raising money and being nice. It’s not. It’s about the forgiveness of sins.” (Hidden Agenda: Dropping the Masks That Keep Us Apart p. 70)

Brown’s confession of being a pastor that smokes or having to clean up after suicides are bittersweet reminders of how Christians make smoking cigarettes the unpardonable sin or hiding the fact that Christians commit suicide. I’ve laughed and cried through his stories and questions that challenge me to take off my mask. I realized as I read the book that God sent a child with special needs into my life to remove my mask of professional or so-called religious success. With the removal of my masks, I have a lot more love and mercy towards people who can’t give anything to me. Removing my masks set me free and yet I’ve been more cognizant of the religious masks that Christians wear to hide their shame.

Brown explains how the kindness of God removes masks by allowing us to suffer, be embarrassed and being wrong in a big public way. I’ve never heard of Christians praying for God to let them suffer, be embarrassed or wrong in a public way. Yet Brown points out the leaders in the Bible that we admire experienced suffering, being embarrassed and publicly wrong. A prime example is David who was hunted for years by King Saul, called out by a prophet for his illicit relationship with Bathsheba and humiliated by the death of a child. There was no public relations machine that existed then for David to spin his failures.

The removal of these masks is a freedom to love and follow God without any hidden agendas. Brown also gives advice on how to safely remove your mask in a church prone to gossip or being human. I don’t want to give away his juicy material because I want you to read his book. You’ll be shocked, moved to tears and if you don’t experience any of that, you’ll have a burden to pray for pastors. Brown rips the mask off religion by exposing the hurt and pain that pastors endure to take care of their congregations with love and mercy.

You can use the book in a bible study setting which I’m thinking about doing but I know it will be uncomfortable. Living with someone elses mask is easier than seeing who they really are. The first mask Adam and Eve attempted to create to hide from God has been worn by mankind since the Fall. Yet God cries out, “Where are you?” while knowing the failures we want to hide. He still longs for us to walk with Him naked and unashamed. If only we could give love, grace and mercy to other people so they could drop their mask with us and God.

Kansas City Gang Leader Finds Redemption

9781424551927The newly-released Millenial Orphan (Broadstreet Publishing) by Levi Gideon Shepherd is a heart-breaking poignant portrait of God’s redemption while growing up in Kansas City and the failure of the Missouri Social Services system. Levi was raised by a single mom in the rough parts of East Kansas City. After overcoming cancer, his mom died, sending him into a life of chaos, betrayal and abuse. Abandoned by his family, Levi went through a string of abusive foster homes and psychiatric hospitals. His dream of becoming a paratrooper for the U.S. Army was shattered by a medical discharge.

With no hope and tormenting voices of pain, Levi spiralled into a life of becoming a gang leader. There were a few bright lights along the way with adults who saw through the pain and torment in his soul. Mrs. Boyden and Officer Jon Chapman rescued him from his abusive foster father. Ozanam, a treatment center for children with psychiatric disorders, brought several caring adults into his life who saw through the pattern of abuse that sent him into psychiatric care.

What’s disturbing is how the state of Missouri’s social services department let him stay in these abusive homes.

“After that first blow that night by the barbecue, the gloves came off. There was something – from somewhere in his past – that rose like a malovent demon. Perhaps I was a reminder of wrongs done to him in his past or wrongs he’d done to others, because my very presence in that house set him off. From a constant barrage of derogatory swear words aimed my way to random blows, whatever was lurking in his heart found an outlet on me.” p. 94

Levi’s grades spiraled under the constant abuse and torture. He learned that his tormentor was once a youth minister who lost his credentials after trying to molest a boy. This was the second “Christian” in his life who abused him. The first Christian was a woman who taught Sunday School. The shocking revelations of his tormentor’s record caused him to distrust the system that was suppose to protect him.

“Now it all began to make sense. I was a teenage boy, and I must have reminded him of his past, a past he so desparately wanted to hide. But why in the world had the foster care system let him be a parent? I concluded that that they must have not known – or worse, they didn’t care.” (p. 97)

Levi is sent to Ozanam after attempting to run away from his abuser. Mr. Redding, a counselor, learns about Levi’s situation and asks Social Services to change Levi’s placement. Social Services ignores Mr. Redding’s request and Levi is sent back to live with his abuser.

Mr. Redding is the first person besides his mother and grandparents, to show him unconditional love.

“Mr. Redding was the only person who ‘got’ me, and God used him to save my life.” (p. 107)

I couldn’t put the book down, and you won’t be able to either. Levi shares his story with compassion for children and teenagers living in the same chaotic mess who wonder if God cares. He sees the love of God through the people who bring relief in hard circumstances. Everyone who cares about children and teenagers should read this book.

When God’s Purpose in Your Child’s Life Hurts You

Jacob held the blood-stained robe that he carefully wove for his youngest son. The dreams he had in his heart that Joseph told him were shattered. The dreamer father, who told his sons of his dream of angels going up and down a ladder to heaven, treasured Joseph’s dreams.The second dream of his brothers bowing toward him that Jacob kept in his heart also died. The son of his love, Rachel, was dead. Joseph running after his brothers in the colorful coat was gone.

Joseph was dead and the hopes and dreams that Jacob had for him had died. Joseph was dead to his father but starting his destiny in God. His brothers sold him into slavery, yet God was sending him into His purposes.

God doesn’t ask our permission when we want His purposes to come to pass in our child’s lives. Jacob learned that he had no control over Joseph’s future. Just like Jacob, we need to learn that we have no control over our child’s future.

If God asked you, “I’m going to send your son into a hostile pagan country to be a slave and he will go to prison for something he didn’t do. Is that OK with you?”

What would you say? I wouldn’t want to know if that was in my child’s future. Yet how much do we try to control our child’s future when He alone wants control.

Stripped of his person hood and the coat of prominence, the once favored prince of a tribal king was now a slave. I believe the slave Joseph cried out to the God of Jacob for help. The stories that Jacob told his sons and daughters of God delivering him from death came alive for Joseph.

Maybe the God of Jacob could help Joseph just as He helped his father who was a slave to his grandfather Laban. Maybe the God of his father could prosper him as he prospered his father who was lied to and taken advantage of by his grandfather.

Your child needs their own story with God. These stories thrust Joseph into his own story and his own relationship with God. Abba Jacob wasn’t around to tell him how to love and follow the one he wrestled with. Now Joseph had to wrestle with his own destiny, his own beliefs and questions and his own identity.

Just as Jacob’s dream died for Joseph, I believe that God brings us to a point in time when our dream for our child dies. We have prayers folded into hopes, dreams, desires, decrees spoken over them. We spend hundreds of dollars on lessons and training and we construct an agenda and a plan for our child. And then He steps into the plan and messes it up.

God alone wants to form your child and their future. He steps in and challenges you to trust Him with your child. Trust God that He can reach them and talk to them. Trust God to have His way even when His way makes you cry and wonder if God is even on the scene.

I’ve learned in my miniscule 30 years of walking with God that He is a creator beyond our understanding. He will not be bound by your culture and agenda. He is a craftsman who loves to intricately shape a person that He hides until history calls for him or her.

God will not work for your comfort or convenience but for the purpose of something greater and grander than our small dreams. God doesn’t give Jacob any sign that He would send Joseph into slavery. He gave Jacob clues that Joseph had a prominent calling on his life. But beyond those two dreams recorded in the Bible, Jacob had no idea the ordeal his son would endure to save a nation.

As parents, we must trust God with our child. We think we know God’s calling or purpose in our child’s life but their choice and God’s relationship with them are a heavenly mystery. Only God knows how to form a man and a woman for His purposes. Only God the creator knows how to arrange circumstances and people for His glory. For when a man or woman’s purpose is revealed, He alone wants the glory for His craftmanship and design that display His creative splendor and beauty.

I have dreams for my children and I’ve received prophetic words for them but I must lay them down at the altar and trust God with their lives. Ultimately my children must know Him intimately and I need to get out of the way. I can’t control their lives. My children must have their own story in God.

I pray that you release your son or daughter into the hands of the One who can save and deliver them. Of course I believe that you must do everything you know to do to take responsibility for them by providing safety and security for them. I’m a strong proponent of investing in their spiritual foundation and spending time with them.

But after you’ve spent thousands of dollars, millions of hours and poured out your heart and faith and they come of age where they are legally adults in our culture – your job is done. Release control and trust Him. Jacob had to trust God when he thought his son was dead.

The day that he met Joseph as the second in command of the most powerful nation in the planet is the day that God showed His glory. That day Jacob met Pharoah is the day God’s splendor shined when He fulfilled His promise with them that He would provide. The son who he thought was dead was alive and in charge of the nation’s grain. His son, Joseph, was the savior of the known world.

 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 1You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.  I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ (Genesis 45:7-11)

Joseph tells his brothers that God sent him into slavery to save them. The favor of God sent Joseph into slavery, prison and then catapulted him into the highest office in the land. God’s plan to save Jacob from famine depended on Joseph.

We want our son or daughter to go to college, graduate with a high-paying job, marry and have children. Yet God’s plan may be radically different from your plan. Can you really trust God?

My mom had to trust God when I got kicked out of high school at 16. She had to trust God when I started college at 16 and lived on campus. She had to trust God to protect me and keep me when I wanted to be independent from my parents.

I had a calling from God that I had to answer myself. My mom, my pastor, my counselor couldn’t answer it. I had to answer His calling alone. Release your adult child to answer His call in their own way.

I’ve been going through this myself as I release my 21-year-old son, Chris, and 17-year-old son, Alex, to answer God’s call. I’ve done everything I know to build a foundation of honoring God in their life. Not my will God, but your will be done in Chris and Alex’s life.

Here’s a song that Alex recently recorded call “Purpose,” by Justin Bieber. Justin grew up in a Christian home and although he is a pop star, there is a call from God pulling on his life. Only Justin can answer that call. This beautiful song expresses that sentiment.

When You’re Born Into Chaos

At five-years-old, social workers found her in a dirty living room littered with beer bottles. The little girl with the big brown eyes and curly black hair was three-years-old when her mother, Malia, left her with a couple. Two years later she was put in a dark cell with a cot and can to pee in. That single solitary night in the dark cell forever defined her view of people and life.

The five-year-old girl would grow up at the Albertinum Orphan Asylum in Ukiah, CA and a foster home until her father, Paul, found her at 13-years-old. That girl was my mother who struggled with depression, poverty, rejection and fear of abandonment. My mom, Aloha, was a strikingly beautiful fair-skinned woman with hazel eyes and wavy black hair.

I’ll never forget her laughter that lit up moments when we wondered how we were going to eat or keep the lights on. She was passionate for the underdog and had an eclectic collection of friends who I nicknamed her strays. Everyone was welcomed in our home regardless of time of day or how we felt.

My mom’s stories of the Catholic nuns who looked after her have framed my view of caring for kids who were born into chaos. My grandmother, Malia, remains a mystery to this day. I have a picture of her in a band with my grandfather, Paul. Malia was a 24-year-old ukelele player who had an affair with a 40ish married upright bass player. The tryst between a young beautiful English woman and middle-aged handsome musician brought Aloha into their turbulent world. Malia left Aloha in the care of her friends, an alcoholic couple. Why Malia left my mom and why grandpa Paul didn’t stay involved in his daughter’s life are questions I never thought of asking him before he died when I was 12-years-old.

What I do know is that it was the 1940s and 1950s and being a single mom was a stigma. Malia reportedly came from an affluent family. I speculate that since she earned her income from playing music and looking beautiful, that a child was an inconvenience. Aloha was an interruption in her career as an entertainer and probably a secret from her family.

My mom’s childhood experience branded in me the urgent priority to provide a safe, caring and loving atmosphere for children and to be a voice for the voiceless. My mom didn’t choose to be born from an illicit affair. She didn’t choose to be abandoned or forgotten. She didn’t choose to live in an orphanage or a foster home.

Their are millions of children born into chaotic circumstances who need our help.

A friend of mine, Renee Loux, founded the Orphan Justice Center to advocate for children in adoption, foster care, supporting troubled families as well as rescuing children from being trafficked. I heard Renee’s story at a fundraiser and couldn’t get it out of my mind. I prayed and stayed up late many nights asking God what can  I do to help her. Renee is passionate about bringing justice for orphans and she has adopted 10 children from different countries.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27 NLT

In the meantime, I had finished writing Ten Keys to Raising Kids That Love God,” that I planned to self-publish. After hearing Renee’s story and the testimony of a young man saved from a life-threatening car accident because of commitment to caring for his foster daughter, I decided to donate the net proceeds from the book to the Orphan Justice Center. I’m selling the book through Highways Ministries for a suggested donation of $18. The book includes a Bible Study and has received some endorsements:

“As Leilani and Jerome Haywood’s pastors for 17 years, we have watched them go through practically every stage of parenting with their three children. Leilani not only works hard as a mother, she also champions the Bible principles of child-rearing that we have taught our World Revival Church family. Not everyone believes that children crave God’s presence and will respond to His Word and ways! We thank God for Leilani’s faith and perseverance in not only sticking with God’s plan for their children, but sharing her transparent views on the challenges and joys of raising kids who are powerful, effective and devoted to God.” Pastors Steve and Kathy Gray, World Revival Church

“Leilani’s transparency separates herself from many authors.  I love her honesty of the things she may have done wrong and even her honest feelings of how she had to give up some of her desires to raise her children.  Her stories will make you laugh, cry and at times make you stop and think about how precious your children really are. As a child advocate, I’m so grateful for Leilani’s willingness to put her life on display to help parents put a priority in raising this younger generation for the Lord!” Tricia Reyes, co-founder of Church Of Joy Reach A Generation, author and blogger, Talks With Tricia

“If you have a passion to see your children love God and walk with Him in their teen and adult years, then this book should be at the top of your required-reading  list. You will find much more than good advice. You will be given tools to help your children cultivate a personal faith that they can own and defend and examples of how this works in real life. Leilani’s personal testimony of how she walked away from dysfunction to raise children who are impacting the kingdom of God in tangible ways will inspire you to invest eternally in your own children.” Rosilind Jukic, author, “A Little R&R,” and founder of Christian Blogger Community

I’m dedicating this book to my mom Aloha, who took care of children that were not her own. Please join me in advocating for children by either purchasing this book, or sharing about this book with your friends. You can also make a donation to the Orphan Justice Center. Click here to buy the book.