Building Foundations

Amos building

I have had the blessing of having our twin grandsons – aged 4  – the past few days at our house. I got some Lincoln Logs down from the attic yesterday and we have been building cabins for each of the boys and for various Little People.

I like to build. I like to have all the pieces fit and the roof stay on even when “people” are going in and out. I also like the various shades of these old Lincoln Logs to match.

I know, that is way over the top! The boys could care less about the log color – but I did find out they care about the roof color!

We used all the longer log sections and ended up with four buildings and a “stable” for the horses.  There were bunches of singlets left. You know – those log pieces with just one slot. These are important for building windows and doors, but our Lincoln Logs are parts of three yard sale sets and there are LOTS of singlets.

One of the boys tried to build these little logs into towers – but the most he could stack that would stay up independently were three. There was not enough of a foundation to hold any more logs.

Tyler building

Relationships are like building with Lincoln Logs. You need a good foundation to have a secure structure –  a structure that will withstand the pressure of use.

The time to start building the secure foundation in a relationship begins with the birth of a child.

Some parents and grandparents think that they will have plenty of time to build that relationship when the child is older and ready to;

  • really communicate
  • spend time doing the things the adult enjoys
  • is able to take care of their own physical needs

in other words – ceases being a child!

That will be TOO LATE.

Children will build the foundation of meaningful relationships with others if the parents don’t take the time to do so. I have heard many adults lament the fact that their children or grandchildren never want to spend time with them as teenagers or young adults.

Did those adults spend time building the foundation of a good relationship early on when the child was young?

Children will go through times of rebellion.

It is natural for children to pull away from the adults in their lives as they grow older. Yet if there is a strong foundation  – a bridge of respect will allow the child and the parent or grandparent to bear the weight of that challenge to the relationship.

I heard this Scripture shared yesterday as a key to building respectful relationships with our children.

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NIV)

10 You are witnesses, and so is God,  of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Those three words from verse 12 hold a key to building a secure foundation in our relationships with our children and grandchildren.

  • encouraging
  • comforting
  • and urging them to live lives worthy of God

Notice it does not say –

  • nagging
  • criticizing
  • listing the child’s mistakes

May we all take the time and effort needed – with God’s grace – to build those strong foundations based on the LOVE and GRACE that our Heavenly Father has so lavishly shared with us!



It’s All Who You Know

Who do I know/

Who do I know?

There was a LONG line outside the White House. It was so long that it snaked around the block farther than I could see. My father walked up to the gate and showed the official our passes.

“Go right in, Mr. Barker. Your guide is waiting for you.”

We went through the gate and met our guide for our special tour of the White House in Washington, DC. It was 1962, I was 11 years old and I still remember the impression it made on me to pass right in front of that long line, right on into the White House.

It‘s all who you know.

Our congressman, Elmer J. Hoffman, lived right across the street from us in Wheaton, Illinois where I grew up. He told my parents that if we ever visited Washington, DC to let him know. He could get us “Congressional passes” into the historic buildings with tours that allowed us to see more than the standard tour. These tours were all free, but there were long lines if you did not have a pass. My father figured we should take advantage of this generous offer – you never knew what might happen after an election!

It’s all who you know.

We sometimes try to apply this to our spiritual lives. We want to tell God that we deserve His favor because –

  • my grandmother was such a wonderful Christian
  • my father was a deacon in our church
  • my Sunday School teacher was Billy Graham’s wife
  • I’ve attended 5 Beth Moore Bible studies
  • I knew Third Day before they made it big
  • I’ve read all John Piper’s (Frances Chan’s , John McArthur’s, Francine River’s, C.S. Lewis’) books

We think it’s all about who we know.

It is.

But not the way our culture means it.
There is ONLY one we need to know – the One and Only. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.
Acts 4: 10-12
10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is ”the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Jesus is the One we need to know.

Are we concerned about knowing the “right” people? Do we want our children and grandchildren to know the “right people”?
Paul was an accomplished man who had every reason to pride himself in who he knew. He was a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin and had many impressive credentials.

Yet Paul makes it very plain – it was all MEANINGLESS compared to knowing Jesus.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

It is all who you know.

It’s all about Jesus.