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Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Feature Friday (10/2/17) A few days late

It’s not often that I miss posting on Friday, but every once in while there are experiences in life that interrupt and cause us to push everything else aside. Thus, was the case for me this past week. The world lost an amazing man. A loyal friend. A faithful husband. An amazing father. While this happens to many families around the globe each and every day this time it was my family and my father-in-law that was lost.

Over the past week, we sang, cried, laughed, cried, rejoiced, cried, grieved, cried, ate, and cried some more. It has been a really short and really long week all at the same time. I have heard it said and experienced myself numerous times before, but it really is the case that you never truly understand how much someone is worth to you until they are gone. And my father-in-law, Shawn Michael Stockdale meant a lot, not just me, but to over 500 other people who attended his memorial service.

I had the privilege and honor of making the opening remarks at dad’s memorial service yesterday, Sunday, October 1st, 2017 and wanted to share my reflections on the life of an excellent, godly example of a husband, father, and friend.

“Good afternoon! My name is Kenny Kirby and I am one of Shawn and Kay’s son-in-laws. I am married to their eldest daughter Bethany. On behalf of Kay, Bethany and myself, Brynna and Brent, Micah and Liz, Caleb, Talia, Ana, Shawn’s brothers Chris and Mark and the rest of our extended family, thank you. Thank you all for joining us today to celebrate and remember dad’s life.

All of us are here because of Dad. Not because of his authority. Not because of position. Certainly, not because of his stature. We are here because of his influence. And as John Maxwell says, “Leadership is Influence”. Truth is, we are all here because Shawn Stockdale led each of us in some way. He led some of us as a trusted financial advisor. He led others of us as a faithful friend. And he led a few of us as a family.

But dad would be the first one to tell us all he was not the greatest leader. He was not the greatest influencer. His greatest identity was not as one who influences. It was not as a leader. Dad’s greatest identity was as a follower. Dad would remind us that the only way he influenced and lead any of us was because of WHO he followed.

Dad followed another leader. A leader who had great authority. A leader who had the most elevated position. A leader who to influence others gave up His position and unmatched authority. A leader who became a servant. Shawn Stockdale followed a leader, an influencer who, ‘though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’

Shawn Stockdale’s greatest identity was as a follower. A follower of the humblest of authorities. A follower of the greatest servant leader. A follower of Jesus Christ. You see dad’s impact. Dad’s leadership. Dad’s influence was all because of WHO he followed. And the hope of today’s memorial service is not simply to recall Shawn Stockdale. It is not to remember the trusted financial advisor. It is not to recall dad as the faithful friend. It is not to remember dad as the leader of a great family.

Our hope, dad’s desire, is to influence all of us to follow him as He followed the greatest influencer, the greatest leader of all time, Jesus Christ.”

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Feature Friday (06/30/17)

Children. Leadership. I love talking about both. I enjoy having children and a place to be in leadership. Children are a blessing and yet hard work. Leadership is a blessing and yet hard work. Both of these topics have so much in common. And yet it is so rare to hear people combine the two. Which is why this week’s feature friday was such a challenging and enjoyable read for me.

I pray Tommy Bowman’s “3 Leadership Lessons From My Kids” is a challenge and encouragement to you as well. What other lessons from your kids would you add to this list? Comment below. And as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Feature Friday (06/16/17)

Crawling. Walking. Feeding themselves. Going to the bathroom without assistance. Getting dressed. Tying their shoes. Counting. The alphabet. And the list goes on and on and on and… The job of a parent can seem daunting…no impossible. There are so many things for your children to learn. So many things that you have the responsibility and privilege to teach. And so little time.

Slow days and long years as I have heard it quoted. Raising children is the quickest and slowest process all at the same time. And with all there is to within such few years, prioritizing must be done. So what gets priority? “A parent’s most basic task is to help their children learn how to live in God’s world.” The good news is: “This isn’t a once in a while task, but an opportunity that is available nearly every moment.”

But how does one go about helping your children learn how to live in God’s world? Garrett Kell offers 8 Ways to Shape Your Family Spiritually. While they may not be all or even most of the ways, they are 8 spot on examples of ways to help your children learn how to live well in God’s world.

Check out the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (1/24/14)

362-2This has been one of those weeks where I have thoroughly enjoyed being a dad. I am not sure what made this week much different than the week or two before it, but it has been a week where God has truly given me joy in being a parent. Not every week is like this one though. So it is during these weeks, and more likely the ones that are not joys, that I need to be reminded of what I am to be pursuing as a parent. Here is a great article for that: 4 Goals to Pursue in Parenting.

Enjoy and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

50 Reasons for Giving Thanks (part 2)

Thanksgiving2With Thanksgiving only 2 days away it is time to finish up the 50 Reasons for Giving Thanks. Last time I gave 25 reasons that I am thankful for this year. Today, one day late from my normal Monday post (due to no internet connection where we were staying yesterday), I will round out the top 50 reasons I have to be thankful by giving you #25-1

I am thankful:

25) For safety in traveling this Thanksgiving season.

24) That God protected us from an accident while traveling.

23) For friends nationwide who allow us to visit and stay with them.

22) For parents who love to have us visit (even if I eat alot of their food while visiting).

21) For the grandparents God has blessed my son with.

20) To have vacation time from work.

19) For a church family (Denbigh Baptist) who graciously allows me time away to be with family during the holidays.

18) For snow!!!

17) To live in a place where snow is something we talk about more than we experience.

16) To lasting relationships with people, even though we don’t see each other that often.

15) To have friends in ministry, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.

14) For down times to catch up with friends and family.

13) For holidays to visit family during.

12) That God has blessed me with more than I could ever need.

11) To have in-laws who have made me feel accepted and like one of their own.

10) For the memories made with family throughout the years.

9) To have known and interacted with all of my grandparents in childhood.

8) For a grandmother who loves Pittsburgh Steelers football more than I do.

7) For a grandmother who was like a second mother to me.

6) For a grandfather who is 90 years old and still “kicking”.

5) For my mother who always took care of our home and loved us kids.

4) To have had a father who made a commitment to being at my events growing up.

3) For a healthy and growing son, that is a blessing to see and hold each and every day.

2) For a wife, that is godly, gracious, and faithful in loving God and me.

golgotha-01

1) For Jesus Christ, who gave His life for me and took my sin upon His body, so that I may stand accepted, loved, and justified before God the Father.

All in all, as you can see I have multiple reasons to be thankful this season. However, I pray that these last two posts have gotten your gratitude juices stirred up as well. I am not sure where I heard it or read it, but I have found it to be true in my own life; “he who has a thankful heart, has a happy heart”. Give thanks this holiday season. Sit down with family or friends or both and verbalize a list of things of which you are thankful. Don’t stop at 10 or 25 or 50, see if you can go for 100 reasons to be thankful this year.

God bless and Happy Thanksgiving…gobble, gobble, gobble!

50 Reasons for Giving Thanks

christmasIt’s that time of year again. Stores are beginning to play Christmas music. Santa Claus is starting to show up, even in Walmart. And the Black Friday sales are right around the corner. The enjoyment of this season has even hit my own home; yes, my wife is adamant about listening to Christmas music as soon as November is here. If you asked her, she would quickly tell you I am not in favor of all this Christmas celebration so early in November. But I am not just another Scrooge or Grinch–I absolutely love Christmas. I mean who doesn’t? It’s the time of year for family, friends, gifts, food (and lots of it) and the time to remember when God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, was born as a humble babe in Bethlehem. Although my love for Christmas is great, I do have a bit of disdain for the season starting so early. Why? Because in my view, a premature focus on Christmas causes us to overlook one of the greatest holiday seasons of the year…Thanksgiving. So in honor of the Thanksgiving season I thought it would be appropriate to share 50 reasons I have to be thankful this year. I will share 25 this week and 25 next week…

50 Reasons I am Thankful this year #50-26

I am thankful:

50) To know the God of the universe.

49) I live in America, a country known for its freedom.

48) For a healthy body.

47) To have a car that is in good condition and runs well.

46) To know I will have food to eat tomorrow morning.

45) For the food I have had to eat today.

44) For God’s provision of a job.

43) For a job that I enjoy.

42) To live close to where I work.

41) To live in a city with police officers.

40) For a family that loves me.

39) For parents that sacrificed so much to raise me.

38) That my parents cared for me from infancy through adulthood.

37) To have three grandparents still living.

36) Not to have dealt with death much in my family.

35) For siblings who made growing up fun.

34) For an older brother who has stayed in touch over the years.

33) For an older sister who taught me a love for horror movies.

32) That one set of grandparents lived within two miles of my childhood home.

31) To have had good friends throughout my entire life.

30) For Calvary Christian School, where I attended elementary and middle school.

29) My friends’ families who treated me as their own child growing up.

28) For modern comforts, like indoor plumbing, heating, and air conditioning.

27) That I enjoy exercising my body.

26) For the church families that God has provided throughout the years (Calvary Baptist, Summit Baptist Bible, Cornerstone, First Baptist, and Denbigh Baptist).

Thanksgiving2These are the first 25 of 50 things for which I am thankful. Stop by again next week for the final 25. Until then, please add to the list items that you are thankful for this year. Let’s make much of Thanksgiving this year as we anticipate the celebration of the coming of the King of King and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, this Christmas.

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