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Spent yesterday with a really great ministry leader I admire a lot and get a chance to work with on an ongoing basis.  I don’t know anyone who "gets" the family like Reggie Joiner does.  He has a way of cutting to the heart of any issue facing those of us who try to integrate our faith with life.  I love the chance to work with him. 

When we were working on some upcoming projects, Reggie shared a simple story about a dad who took his son to breakfast every Saturday.  As his son grew older, his dad began to doubt whether the breakfasts meant anything any more.  Mostly they wouldn’t have much to say. 

One day when the dad was with his teenage son, he said "You know, why don’t we just pass on the breakfast this week.  I can understand if you’ve got other things you’d rather be doing."  The son stopped and looked confused.  "Dad," he shot back.  "Why?’   "Well" his dad said, "I can understand if don’t really enjoy spending time with me anymore."  "Dad," his son responded, "That’s the most meaningful time I spend anywhere all week."

I think most of us underestimate the positive impact we have on others.  I think most of us feel we undercontribute in this life, that God isn’t using even what we offer to Him.

Quick message of encouragement today.  Believe.  Believe God is using you as you seek to do good in His name. 

There are a lot of reasons for you to stop doing the right thing right now, and only one that would keep you going:  God. 



  1. carey nieuwhof on April 10, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    i don't really know what to say in response to these posts except to say thank you. thanks for sharing from your heart. thanks for sharing real stories, some of which carry real pain. and thanks for keeping on.


    shawn…your story breaks my heart. i think one of the lessons i learn when love or hope is unreciprocated is that i just don't want to be responsible for perpetuating that. you got the "lesson" right, and when you turn your pain into blessing someone else by being there for them, you allow God to use you and, I suspect, heal wounds.

    you've all really spoken to me through your stories. thanks!


    God does.

  2. Shawn Smith on April 10, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    This post has been a bitter sweet one for me. It re-assures and encourages me as a father of two young boys (5 and 2) that it is possible to build a deep and meaningful relationship that lasts into their adulthood.

    Don't get me wrong, I had a good childhood and I thought I had a close relationship with my parents. When I was around the age of 15 I found myself looking for more out of my relationship with them. I wanted to talk about things that were happening in my life – sometimes personal things. As things go I discovered that it was a one way street. I could share more but my parents never did. They never seemed to get past the weather.

    After a while I gave up. I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I don't know if my parents were scared or just didn't know how to grow our relationship deeper. They seemed to want the close relationship without doing the work. The sad part is after 20 years my relationship with my parents hasn't progressed.

    I really admire the parents who have made the sometimes very tough decision to put their kids first and do the hard work of building a deep and meaningful relationship with them.

    Love your kids and be real with them – it's worth the risk.

  3. Sarah Flemming on April 9, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    I love this blog.
    It was just really uplifting and encouraging.
    In areas I feel like I fail in – there are still ways God uses me. And God has used people in my life even when they feel like they have failed.

    I probably have a million stories like that which I could share.
    I am not a parent, but I can tell you how much time with my parents has meant to me, and how God actually used them to teach me about himself!

    -Unconditional love when I would screw up

    -how patient my father was as he taught me to plant the garden

    -how caring my mother was when she would tell me what to eat so I wouldn't get sick (as much as I hated that at the time!!)

    All the time parents spend with their children… God can be using!

    This post just made me realize how important encouragement really is. When I recieve an encouraging note from someone it can just refresh me… and I think I need to hand them out more often because there are so many people that I can encourage just for being who they are!

    Lets go encourage someone right now 🙂

  4. Bill Laxton on April 9, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I remember the early nineties…it was the recession in Toronto, and my career in Architecture was finished (due to the economy), as was my rocky first marriage. I have four children from that marriage (at that time all in early grade school).

    During that period, an opportunity to go out to B.C. was offered to me twice through a friend in the custom home business. It included a generous offer of a place to stay until I got settled in. The friend said it would be just what I needed to recover from the end of nine years of marriage. I wasn't sure.

    I seriously throught about it for a couple of weeks, but I always came to the same conclusion…my children needed their father. Moreover, they did not ask for their world to be turned upside down, and they certainly did not need any further separation in their lives. As it turned out, neither did I. I called back and said that I would not come to B.C. As a career move, I resigned myself to the fact that I had just permanently closed the door on a rewarding future.

    Looking back, I realize that I had opened the door to an even more rewarding one…with my children. I can only highlight the past thirteen years by telling you this: my twin boys and I jam together regularly (guitars, bass and singing), and swap notes on the latest bands that we have listened to. You'll usually see me with these two tall long haired guys named Jon and James, at Connexus; Deirdre my daughter, works hard at her job and school as she prepares for university next year…she shares her tastes in art, music and movies with me and we often go for a drive to just talk…about anything. Tom (the oldest) is out on his own now pursuing a career as a cook, but still touches base on the internet. And to this day, he says, he still goes to sleep listening to Bruce Cockburn (like he did when I used to dance him to sleep as a baby), after a tough day.

    I am never sure that I could have been a great architect. But I will say this: the relationships I have as a father out weigh anything I could have hoped for or imagined.

    BTW, after the day I had at work today I really needed this posting called " Believe". Thank you.

  5. Rob pinches on April 9, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Wow what a true story I remember when Amanda was 5 years Old and she had asked me to run with her at the school for the terry fox day. I said "yes" and was looking forward to this because with my new Job I had every Friday off.
    Well as the day approached I was given the opportunity to work overtime and we sure could use the money at the time. I turned down the overtime with a significant amount of bewilderment on my coworkers faces and went to the Terry Fox day with my daughter. Just recently my now 16 year old reminded me what a great day that was for her needless to say I cried.
    We can never truly understand or estimate the value of time spent with our children.

  6. John Bigham on April 9, 2008 at 10:12 am

    For some of us it's like the opportunity to create those special days have already passed us by: kids out working, including Sat. mornings, or off at school. Back when they were at home, the model I had to leave with them was perched in front of Sat. a.m. TV, until they got older and actually wanted to sleep in till noon or 1 p.m. But Reggie's story sounds like a better idea to me; those memories would be so precious.

    David captures the bleakness of it all in Peterson's version of Ps 88:12: Are your marvelous wonders ever seen in the dark, your righteous ways noticed in the Land of No Memory?

    And quite apart from Reggie's love of the family, who else is there in our congregations whom we could befriend with a similar gesture of caring? And what kind of demonstration of community would that represent?


  7. Laurie McNair on April 8, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    How true these words are. The most precious time spent with dad was out in the boat fishing but sometimes the lines never went in the water. Now that he is gone I remember those days–sometimes the memories are too much but when the emotions of the moment pass I am left smiling because that was our time together and nobody can take that away. Did it have an impact on my life…absolutely.

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