7 words of advice to my kids

My wife, Marla Smart, is a “Douglas County Moms” blogger.  She and I have three kids.  Two girls and a boy.  It’s always been important for us to pass on good values to our children.  Eventually you have to let them go and trust the seeds of wisdom you have planted in their lives will take root and grow.  I realize that I won’t always be able to be there for my kids.  So just in case I can’t be there, here are seven words of advice I’d like to offer my children this Father’s Day.

1) You can trust your bible. God’s word will guide you and give you wisdom for life.  Learn it, love it, know it and use it.

2) Learn the value of accountability.  It will keep your course straight when you are tempted to compromise your values.

3) Walk in integrity. Telling the truth, keeping your word and being trustworthy may seem like old fashioned values but they will serve you well in life.

4) Guard your tongue. I have always tried to never say anything about another person that I wouldn’t say if they were right there with me.

5) Have a good work ethic.  Promotion often goes to the one who works the hardest, not the one who knows the most.

6) Choose your friends carefully. We tend to become like those we hang out with.  Make sure you choose friends who will lift you up, not bring you down.

7) “Question with boldness, hold to the truth, speak without fear.”  I’ve always loved this quote from Thomas Jefferson.  The world needs people who are not afraid to confront darkness.  Let your light shine!

One last thing, wherever you go, whatever you do always remember that my love for you is not based on your performance.  If you fall down, get back up and do the next right thing.

Note:  This article was previously published Fathers Day weekend at … http://www.nrtoday.com/news/11795064-113/moms-smart-values-choose

Posted in My Lists Of Seven Things... | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What is truth? – Easter video 2014

This was a video our church put together for Easter 2014.

Posted in Video/Film Projects | Leave a comment

The Beginning – Christmas film 2012

This was a little film our church put together Christmas 2012. Based off the play of the same name by David Wagner.

Posted in Video/Film Projects | Leave a comment

Interview with American Idol finalist, Chris Sligh

American Idol Finalist, (season 6) Chris Sligh.
Chris takes a few moments to discuss his time on American Idol and shares with us some tips on working with musicians, leading worship teams and being a “seasoned musician”.

As of the filming of this interview (Fall, 2013) Chris is currently Touring with fellow American Idol Finalist Phil Stacey.  Chris also has new music out for fans to enjoy.

For booking info or to purchase Chris’s music visit … http://www.chrissligh.com

Here is Chris’s American Idol Audition.

Posted in Video/Film Projects, Worship Arts / Worship Leading | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Whatever The Cost – Film Trailer

For the last couple of years our church has been making independent films.  This is the trailer for our third project.  It’s called “Whatever The Cost”.  The film follows the trials of a small home church being persecuted for their faith in God.  We plan to release it by the end of the year (2013).

Posted in Video/Film Projects | 1 Comment

7 ways to disagree agreeably

Some times conflict is unavoidable.Colossians 4:5 Tells us “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt”.  It can be very difficult to let our conversations be “seasoned with grace”. We live in challenging times.  It seems people today are constantly arguing or debating.  I know I personally have opportunities to engage in conflict often.  The topics of these debates seem infinite, but I would put politics and religion at the top of the list.  Confrontation is not fun, but it is sometimes necessary.  Sometimes it is actually unavoidable if you are not the one controlling the situation.  It is important to note however, that USUALLY engaging in conflict IS A CHOICE!  A lot of times it is a choice you should not make.  My recommendation to you is that you carefully choose when to engage people.  In fact I would say that MOST of the time you should just walk away.  I know it can be really hard to walk away from a fight, trust me I’ve been there.  But generally speaking the fruits of pursuing peace (almost at all costs) are far sweeter that the fruits of victory, where victory would be defined as crushing another person in a debate.

Here are some tips that can help you when you find yourself in conflict…

  1. Never name call.
    This is for the playground folks.  Name calling is not something grown adults should ever engage in.  It is one of the quickest ways to reveal your immaturity.  Plus if you resort to name calling it is usually because you do not have any good arguments to support your side.  It also reveals your true intent, which generally is not to win the debate but to hurt the other persons feelings.  If this is you, please do the rest of us a favor and grow up a little.
  2. Never let your emotions control your response.
    We’ve all heard it before, “if you get angry, count to ten”.  Taking a few seconds to calm down if you are angry can make a huge difference in your response.  Take a brief pause and count to ten before you do or say something you will regret later.  Just like the previous point, losing your cool can make you look immature.  That will not help your cause.
  3. Don’t treat them like an enemy who has bad intentions.
    Realize the other side isn’t evil (most of the time).  They usually have the same goal as you.  They just don’t agree with your plan to accomplish those goals.  That doesn’t make them a bad person.  Seek ways to compromise if that is possible.  But even when compromise is impossible you still should not assume ill intent from the other person.
  4. Don’t insult their intelligence.
    If they are misinformed, don’t respond in a way that embarrasses them.  Instead fashion a response that treats them with respect and educates them at the same time.
  5. Let your goal be to win a friend, not crush an enemy.
    It’s possible, just possible if you can find common ground and agree to disagree you may make a new friend.
  6. Do your best to not embarrass the other person.
    Setting out to embarrass another person is a quick way to get them to close their spirit to you.  If you ever want to win them over, if you would like to continue to have any kind of relationship with them in the future, do not try to embarrass them.  Plus, like I’ve said before, all it will do is make you look like the immature one.
  7. Stay humble. 
    Realize you can be wrong and if you listen to the other person with an open mind.  You may just learn a thing or two. This one is huge.  I cannot tell you how many times my views on issues have changed over the years.  One thing I have learned as I age… I’m not as smart as I think I am.  Other people often have wisdom or points of view that I need to listen to.  When I was younger I was pretty judgmental.  Now that I’m older I am occasionally embarrassed by what I use to think of others and how I would treat them.  I’m a lot slower to judge and way more accepting of people than I used to be… and that by the way, is a GOOD thing.

So when is it worth it to engage in conflict?
I’m glad you asked, here are some situations I thought of that might be worth it…

  1. When a voiceless person is being attacked.
  2. When a lie is being propagated that can hurt someone else.
  3. When you are being asked or told to do something you know is not right.
  4. When the issue is important and you are pretty sure you can win and keep your dignity.
  5. When your core values are being challenged.  Just be sure they are ones worth conflict.
Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, My Lists Of Seven Things..., Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

7 things my dad used to say

My Dad Steve Smart November 2001

My Dad
Steve Smart
November 2001

My dad passed away in November 2003 at the age of 54 due to an aortic aneurysm.  The impact he had on my life is impossible to put into words.   Just like ripples in water continue on long after a rock is thrown into it, his influence is still changing the world today.   If in this life I end up being half the man he was I will be happy.  This is my Fathers Day tribute to him.  I love you dad!  See you in heaven!  🙂

7 things my dad used to say and the lessons I have learned from them…

1) Got’cha covered!
My dad was a man of prayer.  James 5:16 says “… the effective , fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”.   I always knew was praying for me.  How did I know?  Because he told me and I saw the fruit of it in my life.

2) Put it through your filter.
Acts 17:11 says “they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”  In this scripture the Apostle Paul is sent to a town called Berea.  The Bereans would search the scriptures to see if what they were learning was in line with God’s word.  The Bible is called the “canon” for a reason.  The world we live in can be a confusing place.  With people peddling ideas and philosophies that are dangerous and un-Biblical.  It is so important to use the “canon” God gave us to measure every thing we hear.  If it doesn’t measure up, toss it out.

3) People over policy!
Sometimes an exception needs to be made.  Along with using this phrase dad would also say “you need to bend, but not to the point you are broken”.  Dad was a big fan of living life in balance.  Sometimes we can live life at fanatical extremes.  Dad taught me that there is often more peace and more fruit if life is lived in balance.

4) I’m not asking in any way to coerce you, but to give you the gift of a moment to consider the claims of Christ.
Dad loved Jesus, and wanted others to know Jesus also.  He was the type of man who would love others and not judge them.  He would  not try to cram the Bible down a persons throat.  He was patient.  He knew if he just kept loving people and pointing them to Jesus eventually they would develop an appetite for righteousness.  Sure there were people who came in and out of my dad’s life who were sinners, who were unlovable, who sometimes would not love him back.  But dad was like Jesus,  he just kept loving people unconditionally.  He got tired, he would have long days but dad’s love of God was contagious and it made others want to love Jesus also.

5) Buddy!
That’s what he called me… “buddy”.  Dad was gentle and strong at the same time.  My dad was one of my best friends,  but he could be a strong disciplinarian also.  He taught me right from wrong.  He showed me it was possible for a father to be both friend and judge all at the same time.  Proverbs 22:6 says “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”  Dad knew the wisdom of this and lived it.

6) May I be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas!
Christmas was his favorite time of the year for these reasons.  Number one: Dad loved his family, and he especially loved times when the family could be together.  Number Two:  Christmas is a time of giving and receiving gifts.  My dad would buy gifts all year long in anticipation of Christmas time.  He would often not be able to wait and give the gifts early.  Then he would end of having to get another gift.  These two qualities, love of family and love of gift giving, are two qualities of God that I saw in my dad.

7) We wouldn’t worry so much what people thought of us if we knew how seldom they did. Dad taught me not to put so much value in what others thought of me.  He taught me that doing the right thing in life sometimes means you do it alone.  Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”.  He also taught me to be decisive.  From him I learned how to evaluate a situation, get the best advice and wisdom you can then make a decision.  Then don’t worry about doubters or naysayers.  He also taught me that as a leader almost every decision you make is going to disappoint or anger someone so make the best decision you can then move on.

BONUS:  I thought of an 8th saying that deserves a mention…

8) You need to get a check up from the neck up to get rid of your stinkin thinkin.
Dad would sometimes say this when someone would develop a bad attitude.  Psalm 139:23-24 says “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.  Occasionally we all need to hit pause, step back and take a look at our life.  When we prayerfully review our life God often shows us areas of our life that need attention.

Posted in My Lists Of Seven Things... | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment