1) Why did you feel it was important to write this book?
After my daughter died in 2004, I spent a lot of time teaching my church family on the vital necessity of being ready for their impending deaths and home going. The greatest comfort to me when Lindsay died was that she was at the peak of her young Christian experience. At 22 years old, she was ready. A burning question for me was this: are the people I serve as pastor ready? Are they ready for eternity by living for eternity now? Also, are our parents ready to lead their children into the truth of God’s Word so that they will be ready to live for Christ rather than for themselves? Even to this day, I have a passion to teach our parents to be ready so they can prepare their children to be ready. After preaching a sermon series on wise parenting from Proverbs, I was challenged by a member of our church to expand my teachings for not only the now but also the next generations of parents in our church, and, also, to expand its outreach to the larger body of Christ, the church. So my passion was and still is to help Christians whom God may allow me to reach with this book to be ready and to ready their beloved children.
2) You take the principles in your parenting book directly from the Bible, specifically the book of Proverbs. Explain how you feel Proverbs directly applies Scripture to any situation a parent might face.
The book of Proverbs is one of the quintessential wisdom books of the Bible. It is chock-full of practical principles for any believer’s life. When I decided to preach a sermon series on parenting from Proverbs, I began by working my way through the entire book in search for principles that apply to parenting. I was amazed to find so many, forty, in fact. Much of Proverbs is a wise father teaching his son or sons how to live life well by heeding his and his wife’s godly instruction. As I studied, I became more aware than ever that Proverbs was a treasure throve of truth that encompassed a wide spectrum of situations and circumstances spiritual parents face in raising their children. Not to my surprise, I also found that the other parenting passages in Scripture perfectly supported and sometimes expanded on the principles given in Proverbs. In a perfect marriage of truth between Bible books, God’s inspired Word addresses and answers all of our parenting questions and needs.
3) How did the murder of your daughter in 2004 change the way you look at parenting?
We often say that time is of the essence, but do we believe it? God made me believe it. Lindsay’s death taught me that life truly is short. Whether we live twenty-two years or ninety-two years, life on earth is short, and time is of the essence. So here’s how I see it: God has given me the gift of urgency. He has spoken to me through His Word in James 4:14, that life is ‘just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.’ That urgency within me is the great and gracious gift God gave me. This gift shows up in my teaching and counseling ministry, but especially in my preaching. I’m more than sixty years old. I don’t know how much time I have left before I join Lindsay to stand in the presence of our heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, but I know it is not much time. And I don’t know how much time you have left to instill biblical principles into the minds and hearts of your children, to prepare them for a life of worship and service and eventual death. But I know it isn’t much time; it never is. And we all know that the competition for their time and attention is stiff—the world vies for as much of their time and ours as it can get. We must set aside anything that belongs to worldly wisdom and replace it with biblical principles that accomplish the righteousness of God, so that both the lives and deaths of our godly children will be precious in the sight of the Lord.
4) Without giving away the book, how do parents embrace this sense of urgency towards parenting the right way?
Urgency comes to parents when they are convinced and convicted that God’s way for their children as outlined in His Word is the only way for them to live. Then they come to the full realization that life truly is short and that the window of their opportunity to instruct them in the way is small. Wise parents come face-to-face with the truth that they only have one, short shot at raising their children with an eternal perspective. Parents often say, “Our children grow up so fast!” When that reality sinks deep within and is rooted in the parent’s mind and heart, he or she fully embraces a driving sense of urgency. They know without a shadow of doubt that this amazingly short life is only preparation for life eternal; consequently, they don’t waste time, energy, and effort in raising their children with eternity’s values in view.
5) What do you hope to accomplish with this book?
There is one great and all surpassing goal that all Christians and Christian parents should have: to glorify God in all that we do—God’s glory is meant to be our priority of all priorities. So, since time in instilling this overriding value into the inner fabric of our children is of the essence, I pray that this humble offering will help parents accomplish that purpose. My life verse is 2 Corinthians 5:9: “So whether we are at home [in heaven] or away [on earth], we make it our aim to please God.” We have a short time to please and glorify God in our parenting careers. My prayer and passion is that as many of us as possible make that our parenting-aim and stay right on target.