Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thankful for Family? Some are Hurting, but Here's Help

As we enter this week of Thanksgiving, at the top of most of our lists is family. What value is health, an impressive job, a fancy car or beautiful home without people who love us? Some of us have family nearby, others have loved ones far away and still others are blessed with a church family who adores them. As with all things we are grateful for, we must invest in and protect this treasure. Whether you are married, single, old or young, it is wise to pause for a moment and say thanks for your blessings. But also to consider how well you are caring for these gifts.

Pastor Michael Tucker is the founder of 21st Century Ministries, a non profit organization which supports pastors, churches and hurting people. In his journey of comforting, counseling and assisting individuals and families in pain, he has gained some significant insights that could really help you and your family, or tips to use as you try to give others a hand.

Following are some of his insights excerpted from his newsletter:

1. Most families are much, much too busy. People are so busy that they don't have time for the development of good relationships in the family. Parents need to learn to say "no" to good things for their children. Let each child help select 1-3 activities/sports outside the home. But each child being involved in four or more activities causes too much stress and frustration to the entire family.

2. Many couples have no understanding of how to spend time together. Watching TV together doesn't count as family time. Lots of people are so engaged with sports, exercise and hobbies that they have no time left for a husband or wife.

3. It is a mistake not to include weekly worship in the family schedule. Some people treat church attendance like attendance at a concert. They go occasionally, but they are not committed to the church. Children in these families learn that church attendance is not very important4. Raising children is increasingly difficult after a divorce. In most cases, economic problems and custody/visitation issues dominate the parents' lives following a marriage break-up. People sob out their stories of ex-spouses and step-parents taking their children to R-rated movies and unacceptable religious meetings. Christian parents must endure watching their kids live part-time with adults who curse and practice unbiblical values.

Many people say that their family is the most important thing in their lives. But in reality they live as though their job or their own personal pleasures are far more important. Investing in your marriage and family takes lots of time and tremendous effort. But the result is so rewarding and fulfilling.

Pastor Tucker suggests that If you are struggling in your marriage or having difficulty with your children, take the following steps:

  • Examine your priorities
  • Be sure that God is central in your life, marriage and family.
  • Take responsibility for your own happiness. Don't expect another person to do what only God can do.
  • Get help! There are many good Christian counselors and pastors who can give you assistance.
I would add to this that if you're single, don't have children or are just living in a blissful, stress-free season of life, don't tune these suggestions out. Consider how you can live your life in a way that prepares you for these challenges. What are you most grateful for and what can you do to show God and your loved ones that they matter most? Share your comments.
Diane Markins

PS I am overwhelmingly thankful for those who read these posts and send me encouraging notes to keep me at it.

*Please send Mike Tucker a note of gratitude, ask him a question or contribute to his ministry so he can continue helping others. He can be reached @ or


Anonymous said...

Very wise words from Pastor Tucker... I hope that my children learned from my life that God is at the core of who I am and what I do. That is my prayer for them. I believe if they will do that, the rest will be taken care of.
Joni Corby

Dawn said...

Thank you for taking a stand for protecting the family...something that has become so threatened by modern life. God tells us to "store up for treasures in heaven." The real way to do that is invest in relationships with people we love TODAY. We can't take our careers, accolades, money, possessions, achievements, etc. with us in the after life, but we can certainly take with us those we love. Relationships are the only thing that last.

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived it, or the kind or car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of child." ~ Anonymous

Keeping Pastor Tucker's ministry in prayer.

Jeff said...


thank you for reporting on Pastor Tucker's potent ministry. Now, if the Church will heed his God-given wisdom!

There is no doubt that God has outlined a way that will work for marriage and family, but it only works if we work it. As Marriage Missionaries called to inspire and equip couples to strengthen and protect their marriage and family, I whole-heartedly affirm Pastor Michael's message. It is encouraging that others are "on the job" proclaiming God's way.

Many Christians fret and wring their hands about the way the Church, Marriage and families are going. However, as they reveal the "plan" that they are using to address their concerns, we discover that they have passively submitted to a recipe for failure by failing to take responsibility for their schedules to prioritize time for marriage and family relationships. Remember, one of Jesus' most potent questions in Scripture was, "Do you want to be well?" Well, if Christian marriages and families DO want to be well, it is simply a matter of learning what to do and then doing it. Pastor Tucker's advice is a great place to start.

Thanks Diane, and thank you, brother Michael.

Jeff Williams

*Oh, your newsletter reminds me of an article I wrote, "Making Time to Make Things Right".