Outside of Jesus, I’d say family is the most important relationship I have. To date, we’ve had an incredible 20 years of marriage, 16 years of parenting, hundreds of memories, and one blessed family. The beach really isn’t about the beach. The lake really isn’t about the lake. Camping really isn’t about camping. They are all about unhurried time together with family. And that time is precious. These are some good times. Rare times. Invaluable times.
Family photos on the beach are something we love to do. Well, maybe not “love to do” for a seven year old boy and his older father. But they capture what I would love to hold on to forever: the moment. We can miss them. We often hurry them. We seldom cherish them. Wouldn’t it be great for teenage Stephen and Haley to walk on the beach again? Oh what we’d stop and tell them! What I’d give to take that first walk on the beach with Kylee again. If I could put the kiddie pool out on the sand again for little Babbs. If I could bury Tate in the sand one more time…wait, I’m doing that today. Time keeps moving forward, but the family photos of beach vacations gone by remind us to cherish the memories and make new ones!
Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” When I was 7, I believed in the Lord and was saved. I’ve had the honor of baptizing my wife, my dad, and leading all three children to Jesus. I’ve spent hours discipling them. I’ve been working with my son on the significance of baptism. A couple weeks ago while watching some baptisms at church, he came up to me and said, “Dad, I’m ready to be baptized.” It’s moments like these that are far better than the beach or lake trip. These are eternal. These are truly irreplaceable and most valuable – worth more than any vacation. It’s these I cherish most and long for. Who knew that when I got saved, these moments would follow? Jesus, that’s who.
So we’ll continue to go to the beach, relax at the lake, and camp, but I’d trade all that in for more Jesus-centered family moments any day. We will capture family moments in the sand to cherish family time well spent, but we will build a family in love with Jesus and eager to do His will. While we will enjoy God’s creation, you won’t find the cares of this world overshadowing our passion for Jesus. Our family doesn’t just go to church, we are church. We don’t just attend weekly services, we serve the Lord daily. We don’t just add Jesus to what we’re doing, we’ve been added to Him and will do what He’s doing. Life’s not about us just making memories together, it’s about us making Him more memorable for others. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.
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