Archives For Family

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
– Proverbs 31:10

ArrWed

June 1, 1996, at Scofield Memorial Church, Dallas, Texas

Twenty years ago. Wow. It’s hard to believe that two decades have passed since Jennefer Shannon Lang and I, with family and friends gathered together, exchanged vows before the Lord to be united as husband and wife. In 2016, she is still stunning, lovely, godly, and the possessor of my heart. I always tell people that the person they see in public is the same one I see in private. She loves Jesus, cherishes her kids, and puts up with me (most of the time).

I come from a family with parents who are celebrating 56 years of marriage. I can only trust by faith that Jen and I will be follow along in those same footsteps for the good of our family and the glory of God. I love you Jenne-Jenn! Happy 20th Wedding Anniversary!

The Arringtons, May 2016

The Arringtons, April 9, 2016, Houston, Texas

 

Leading the church is a demanding task. There will be times when you come home late because of the work pastoring demands. The problem is when those seasons become the norm instead of the exception, and we spend more time investing in our churches than in our families.

This temptation is easier to succumb to if we don’t center our identity in the gospel but instead in being a pastor. Now the success of our church – in its ministries, numbers, or simply how we want our congregants to view us – becomes the thing for which we live and, consequently, that which we give the bulk of our time.

It’s no secret many churches both big and small are led by unhealthy pastors who’ve made their local church a priority over and above their marriages and families. This can be especially true of church planters who work feverishly to get their local church off the ground.

But a brave pastor invests in his family. He pours into his wife, his kids. A brave pastor knows his home is the first church he pastors. That’s why one of the elder qualifications in 1 Tim. 3:4 is that “he must manage his own household well.” A healthy pastor must lead the little church (family) before he leads the big church. A brave pastor consistently fights the pull of ministry, the ache that things need to be done (by only him), and the siren’s call that tells him his identity is anchored to the “success” of his church.

Conversely, unhealthy pastors make excuses for their inattentiveness at home. They can easily guilt their spouses saying the church must have this or that from their leadership in order for things to work. They can also drop the God bomb on them: “Listen honey, this is why I’m the pastor God called to this church!” Well, who’s to argue with him when it’s put that way? To call his judgment into question is equated to lack of faith, spiritual immaturity, or flat out rebellion against God. However, let the record show this type of reasoning isn’t the sign of his spiritual greatness but his weakness, manipulation, and cowardice.

Listen men, the local church can get another pastor, but your wife has only one husband, your kids only one father.  If you’re going to cheat on someone, cheat on the idea that you have to be doing ministry/church 24/7. You don’t. Cheat on “the ministry” so you won’t cheat on your family. Make your home a priority in your schedule. Continue to date your wife. Make memories with your kids. Don’t play quality time over quantity time. Do both well. Lead your family at home so they won’t resent ministry but see it all as a blessing from God. It bears repeating. Lead your little church (family) in order to better lead your big church.

If your spouse ever says, “How come the church gets the best of you – your energy, your creativity, and your attention – but at home we get the crumbs?” You might want to consider cheating on the ministry so you can give your family what they deserve. I should know. This is what my wife said to me. And she was right. I was cheating on the wrong group.

I’ll give you one more reason not to cheat on your spouse with the church. The church is already Someone else’s Bride. That seat is filled by the Lord Christ himself (cf., Rev. 19:7-10, 2 Cor. 11:2). You play your role as pastor not Savior. Remember, your legacy as a pastor is just as defined by the family you love as the church you lead.

Brave pastors invest in their family.

I recently returned from a 30-day respite. Most of that time was spent at my family’s ranch in the Texas Hill Country (outside of Hunt). As I reflect on my time spent at the ranch, here are a few things that come to mind (with the help of Instagram):

Had my first TopoChico. I'm a fan. ¡Viva Monterrey! #topochico

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Topo Chico – I’ve gotten hooked on sparkling water thanks to some of the CCCC executive staff guys but drinking some of Monterrey, Mexico’s finest out of its ice cold bottle was hard to beat as I drove alongside the Guadalupe River. I’m a fan of this agua mineral.

¡San Antonio, me gusta mucho! Mission San José. Est. 1782. #sanantonio

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San Antonio – If you weren’t sure where Texas came from, visit San Antone. It will be clear that the Lone Star Nation used to be a part of Mexico. I love the Latino mix that is San Antonio. It’s a city unto itself. Pure Tejano.

Fandango – For more than a decade I’ve connected with my Baylor buddies for the better part of a week each June. The majority of time we meet at the ranch. It’s always one of my favorite times of the year.

The Auslander – This German-Texan restaurant in Fredericksburg has been a regular stop for my Fandango buds for years. We sit outside in their biergarten and eat the biggest and best chicken fried chicken around! Prosit!

Luckenbach – For a long time I’ve wanted to visit the fabled town of Waylon, Willie, and the Boys. This summer proved to be the reckoning and what a time it was. Driving up I thought the place might play out like a bad theme park but Sunday night found local musicians singing songs in a round. With my friends in hand and the summer evening beginning to cool, it was magical. I won’t soon forget it. Also, I just leveled up as a Texan.

The view I've grown up with every summer of my childhood. I ❤️Texas. #HillCountry

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The Hill Country – Growing up, I spent every summer I can remember in the Hill Country. So driving out to the likes of Kerrville, Ingram, and Hunt is like driving home for me. I love the land’s rugged beauty, wide vistas, and open country. It’s full of bluebonnets, Indian blankets, Mexican hats, cacti, cedar (aka Ash Junipers), deer, coyotes, armadillos, and a million other things that make it what it is (watching out for the occasional scorpion or rattlesnake, of course). Best night skies to sit under and talk with your friends as the wind blows, the crickets chirp, and the Chuck-will’s-widows call out to each other.

Swimming Lil Blue Hole style. #thelife

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Little Blue Hole – This is part of the Guadalupe River that’s been my family’s swimming hole for years. It’s especially fun to jump into when the temps soar into the high 90’s during the summer. I’ve fished it, tubed it, and swam it. However, one of my favorite ways to do Little Blue Hole is sitting on the little rock ledges underneath the water so I’m about head-and-shoulder high out of it while my college buds do the same, as we share our stories and lives. Then it becomes the best place on earth for that moment.

Bruce Waltke’s Old Testament Theology – I’ve been working through Waltke’s book off and on for more than a year. It’s a big one but every time I invest in reading it, it always pays dividends. I often leave thinking: #1) I don’t know the Old Testament very well and, #2) the Old Testament is worth knowing well. It rained for almost two weeks straight while I was at the ranch, giving more ample time to spend reading this wonderful book.