marc julagay

One families attempt to keep up with themselves

Josiah – Everett Highlights


9 Things We Should Get Rid of to Help Our Kids

Child counting money (Shallow DOF)

Kids naturally want what they haven’t earned, especially if we are handing it out for free.

But what we have is an entire generation of young adults who got everything they ever wanted with little or no work; we have a cultural norm and it’s a problem.

Because reality is, life doesn’t give us everything we want. We don’t always get the best jobs or a job at all. We don’t always have someone rescue us when we have a bad day or replace our boss just because we don’t like them. We can’t always have what we want when we want it. We aren’t always rewarded in life.

Here are 9 things we can get rid of to begin eliminating entitlement in our children:

  1. Guilt: Often we give into our kid’s requests out of guilt. We need to stop feeling guilty for not giving our kids everything they want. It’s hard to swallow, but we foster the attitude of entitlement in our homes when we are ruled by a guilty conscience. It’s okay to ask kids to be responsible for what they lose and to require consequences for actions.
  2. Overspending: I think it’s good for our kids to hear us say, “We can’t afford that” Or “We will have to save for it.” Because that’s real life. We don’t have All The Money to Buy All the Things. I’ve known families before who are working multiple jobs to keep kids in extracurricular activities, when honestly, the kids would probably be happier with more family time.
  3. Birthday Party Goody Bag (Mentality)-I’ve been guilty of this like most of us. But, really? We take our kids to parties so they can give a gift, but they take a small one home so they won’t feel bad? It’s not their birthday. This concept of spoiling kids (which usually goes far beyond goody  bags) is temporary fun. It’s okay for them not to be the center of attention.
  4. Making our day-week-month, our world about our kids-Working in the non-profit world has redirected our extra time. We simply can’t center our lives around our children when we are centering our lives around Christ. Child-centered homes don’t help children in the long-run.
  5. The desire to make our children happy (all the time). If you visited my house, you’d find out pretty quickly that someone’s always unhappy. It’s not our job to keep our kids happy. Don’t carry that impossible burden. Typically when our kids are unhappy, it’s because we are standing our ground. And that makes for much healthier kids in the future.
  6. Made Up Awards: You know what I’m talking about. Rewarding everyone who participates in every area only fosters an inflated self esteem. Kids don’t need rewards for every little thing. It’s okay to lose, they learn through failure as much as success.
  7. Fixing all their problems: I don’t like to see my kids struggling. There’s a part of every parent that longs to make things right in their child’s world. But it’s not healthy to create a false reality. You won’t always be there to do so and not only that, if you’re doing it all for your child, why would they need to learn to do it themselves? Fixing all their problems is really only creating more challenges in the future.
  8. Stuff: We could all probably fill a half dozen trash bags with just stuff. Excess. Try it. Bag it up and get your kids to help you and give it to someone who needs it.
  9. Unrealistic Expectations: My girls are always asking for manicures. I didn’t have one until I was married, pregnant and 27 years old. I’m not opposed to the occasional treat, but it’s the attitude of expecting it because you as a parent or others have it. Just because I have an iPhone, doesn’t mean my children will get one. We don’t have to give our kids everything we have. It is okay to make them wait for things in life.

It’s okay to toss these things out. 

Jackie Robinson: How God used two faith-filled believers to desegregate baseball.

jackierobinson+3The biographical film “42” depicts Jackie Robinson’s courageous battle to break the color barrier in major league baseball. At the same time, the film provides a glimpse of his religious faith, which afforded the strength he needed to overcome fierce opposition.

“It took two Christians to pull this off,” says Chris Lamb, the author of “Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Spring Training” (University of Nebraska, 2004). “Robinson was a Christian and Branch Rickey was a Christian,” he notes. “Sometimes we miss this.”

Lamb was blind to it himself until he researched Robinson’s life for his book. “I kept wondering all these years what kept Robinson together,” he says. “Finally I realized what I missed before – the core came from above.”

The film accurately depicts the role of Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey in advancing desegregation in baseball. Rickey, a devout Methodist, was sometimes known as “the deacon” due to his forthright convictions.

“It was in every part of him,” Lamb says. “He spoke often about his religion. You could see him across the room and even with the cigar smoke, there was a warm glow.”

As an athlete, Rickey was demoted from the major leagues to the minor leagues, because he refused to play baseball on Sundays, according to Lamb.

“His religion was not a coat he put on and took off at night,” Lamb says. “It was a part of his skin, and he took it with him wherever he went.”

Wesley "Branch" Rickey as a young man
Wesley “Branch” Rickey as a young man

There was one searing incident four decades before Robinson came along that altered Rickey’s perspective on racial integration. Rickey coached Ohio Wesleyan’s baseball team, and his star catcher Charles Thomas – the only African American on the team — was denied lodging at the Oliver Hotel in South Bend, Indiana on the eve of a game against Notre Dame.

“Blacks and whites couldn’t stay in the same hotel room,” Lamb notes. But Rickey approached the front desk clerk and asked if Thomas could stay in his room on a cot. The clerk reluctantly agreed to make an exception, but when Rickey went to their room later that night he found Thomas crying, rubbing his skin.

“If only I could make it white,” Thomas said. “If only I could make it white.”

Charles Thomas

“It looked like he was trying to rub off his skin,” Lamb recounts. At that moment, Rickey made a vow before God that if he ever had the opportunity to do something about racial injustice, he would do it.

Forty years later he got that chance when he invited a young player from the Negro leagues into his office. In their first encounter, Rickey wanted to know if Robinson was made of the right stuff, because he knew whoever was chosen first to break the color barrier would endure awful indignities.

“I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back,” Rickey told Robinson. Then Rickey opened up a book he had sitting nearby, “Life of Christ,” by Giovanni Papini.

He read the words of Jesus to the promising athlete: “But whoever shall smite thee on the cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Even though Robinson’s father abandoned their family when he was only a child, these words were familiar because of the influence of a godly mother. “I have two cheeks, Mr. Rickey. Is that it?” he replied.

When Robinson was a teenager veering into trouble in the streets, he was taken under wing by Rev. Karl Downs, minister at Scott United Methodist Church in Pasadena. He counseled the young man and became a father figure. “Pretty soon Robinson was teaching Sunday School,” Lamb notes.

The influence of a godly mother and Rev. Downs left a lasting mark. “Robinson wore his religion quietly, but it was sincere,” Lamb says.

In the Negro leagues, Robinson developed a straight-laced reputation. “He didn’t engage in premarital sex and he didn’t drink,” Lamb recalls. “There was a quiet strength that put him at odds with his teammates.”

On one occasion, Robinson took a glass of whisky and dramatically tossed it into a lit fireplace in front of his astonished team. “This is what liquor does to you,” he said, as the flames roared in a vivid display of alcohol’s combustible properties.

In the first providential meeting between Rickey and Robinson, the Dodgers executive discovered that Robinson had built his life on the right foundation. “Rickey sensed that Robinson had a strong central core that could hold together in the face of the storm.” The core – the indwelling presence supplying the faith and assurance — was Jesus Christ.

Robinson with Rickey, 1950
Robinson with Rickey, 1950


“I’m a Methodist. Robinson is a Methodist, and God is a Methodist,” Rickey exclaimed after the meeting. Sensing it was all more than a coincidence, their common faith gave both men the assurance to forge ahead in the face of certain opposition.

Horrible invective was hurled at Robinson during his first Spring training with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. “He had to deal with 10 kinds of awful indignities every day,” Lamb recounts. It got so bad, Robinson’s wife delayed telling him she was pregnant, because she didn’t think he could handle the news, according to Lamb.

“You can’t tell the civil rights story without Jackie Robinson and you can’t tell the Robinson story without the civil rights movement,” he observes. “Martin Luther King taught non-violent resistance, but Jackie Robinson did that 20 years before.”

Lamb sees the Jackie Robinson story as almost biblical. “When you think about where the strength comes from, it becomes a parable, a Christian story,” he notes. “It’s like something out of the New Testament.”

Marriage – Gender Appropriation

genderappropriationShould gay marriages be “legal?”  Yea, I’m sure I’ll be offending some people who are close or not-so-close to me. But we just can’t ignore what the Bible has to say about it. If we need to debate the validity of the Bible, then that can be done at a different time, but for this purpose, Scripture will remain the catalyst for the discussion. The Apostle Paul wrote to a culture which had similar moral struggles as we do. He wrote…

Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

God won’t prevent someone from entering into an improper marriage or sexual relationship. In fact, according to the Bible, He WILL allow someone to do it. However, that does not mean He condones it, but like anything else we insist on choosing, it will have it’s consequences.

For People Who Don’t Like Church

2013_08billboardarticleAn article from

While driving home from a family vacation today, we passed a billboard for a church. It read: “The church for people who don’t like church.” As I continued to drive, I started thinking about it. I’ve seen many variations on this campaign across the country. So why does it always bother me when I see ads like these? Today I finally had enough time in the car to figure it out.

First, a disclaimer. I’m a marketing guy. I am not really a church marketing guy. But as a believer who happens to do advertising and marketing for a living, I often pay attention to church marketing. Does your church advertising work? Perhaps you think there’s room to improve it, or you are on the verge of giving up on church advertising completely. Before you do anything drastic, consider these three reasons why I think most church advertising (like the campaign I saw on vacation) simply doesn’t work.

1. It doesn’t resonate with as many people as you might think.
When churches run ads like this one, I think they assume it appeals to most of the people in their community. After all, the majority of the local community is not in church. Therefore, the majority of the community doesn’t like church. But this logic is flawed. It takes energy and effort to experience something and then decide you dislike it. Most people don’t dislike church. It’s worse than that. They couldn’t care less about church. Most people are completely indifferent, and as a result, this advertising doesn’t speak to them at all.

2. It beats up on an already-damaged brand—the church.
If you think of the Church (with a capital C) as a brand, we can all agree that the brand is in bad shape. But the answer is not to run an ad campaign that distances your church from other churches. In fact, I believe this approach probably hurts your local church more than it helps. Remember, the majority of your community is indifferent. As a result, they don’t care enough to take time to understand the nuances between your church and the church down the street. So any time we speak of the church—with or without a capital C—we should seek to build it up. Yes, that includes your billboard campaigns.

There isn’t a megachurch on the planet with an advertising budget large enough to completely separate themselves from the larger brand of the Church in the eyes of a public that doesn’t care.

3. It doesn’t speak to many people at an emotional level.
All effective advertising speaks to people at an emotional level. As a marketing professional, this can sometimes be difficult to do, especially when my client is selling something boring, like a technical mechanical thing-a-ma-jig to a purchasing manager. But we always try to find a way to make an emotional connection.
When I think about the church… the great commission… the power of the gospel… the stories of changed lives… that is a story that is just teeming with energy. It has the power to connect with people at an emotional level. So why on earth do we throw away advertising dollars with ads that compare our church to most other churches, when most people don’t care about church?
Don’t feel bad. It’s understandable why this approach is so often used. When pastors and church leaders see billboard concepts like my example above, it speaks to them at an emotional level. You love your church. You are passionate about what you want to accomplish in your community, and are understandably excited to share how different you are. But remember, the majority of the people who drive past your billboard aren’t looking for a better church. They don’t think they need church.

Here’s a good rule of thumb. If you’re selling something that everybody buys (like toothpaste, cell phones or automobiles) then do marketing that focuses on differences between you and your competition. But if you’re selling something that most people don’t think they need (like church), then focus your marketing on why they need it!

Fantastic. I just wrote an article about how ineffective the church is in advertising. It would be a little ironic if I ended here, wouldn’t it? But there’s more to share. In my next post I’ll share eight practical steps you can use to design a church marketing campaign that will speak to the majority of your local community… the people who couldn’t care less about church.

The Battlefield

“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.”


Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


A one-time critic of Tim Tebow writes, “I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow, but not for what he does on a football field, which is still three parts Dr. Jekyll and two parts Mr. Hyde.

No, I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow for what he does off a football field, which is represent the best parts of us, the parts I want to be and so rarely am.

Who among us is this selfless”?

Every week, Tebow picks out someone who is suffering, or who is dying, or who is injured. He flies these people and their families to the Broncos game, rents them a car, puts them up in a nice hotel, buys them dinner (usually at a Dave & Buster’s), gets them and their families pregame passes, visits with them just before kickoff (!), gets them 30-yard-line tickets down low, visits with them after the game (sometimes for an hour), has them walk him to his car, and sends them off with a basket of gifts.

Home or road, win or lose, hero or goat.

HomeWord – How to Have a “Happy” Thanksgiving

A great article from my mentor Jim Burns.

Stuffing happens. Pardon the T-Day pun, but the sentiment rings true. In life, things often get in the way keeping us from experiencing the type of day that we would like. And in the end, Thanksgiving Day is just another day of life.

Because Thanksgiving is a treasured holiday in the lives of most Americans in all stages of life, and because of a human tendency to romanticize Thanksgiving Days gone by, if we’re not careful, we can set the bar of expectations so high for the day and for our families that we’re bound to experience a let down when the reality doesn’t match up to the expectation.
Over the years, I’ve learned some tips that can increase the likelihood of having a truly “Happy Thanksgiving.”
1. Give thanks. With all of the preparations involved in Thanksgiving Day (meals, family, travel, and so on) it’s pretty easy to forget that the holiday was created as a day Americans give thanks to God for their blessings. As Christ-followers, we know that even in the midst of difficult seasons of life, that God is good and that there is always something to thank Him for. So, take at least a few moments and offer up a prayer of thanks to God.
Many families find it meaningful to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving before the big meal. Others go around the table and have people share at least one thing each person is thankful for over the past year. There are many ways that families can bring the “thanksgiving” aspect into their Thanksgiving Day celebrations. So, be creative, but try not to get too complicated, or overbearing.
2. Evaluate your expectations. What are you planning? Why are you planning it? Is it reasonable to expect that you can accomplish what you are planning? There’s nothing wrong with having expectations. Knowing what they are in advance can help you adjust them to be more in line with reality and can help give you more control over your behaviors on Thanksgiving Day.
3. Don’t expect perfection. Remember, as I mentioned before, stuffing happens. There is no such thing as the perfect Thanksgiving Day. Fortunately, perfection isn’t required to experience a truly “happy” Thanksgiving. When something goes awry, your own attitude, and how your respond to the situation will go a long way to determining your “happy” quotient.
4. Involve your family in whatever tasks need to be done. Mom, it might seem like it sometimes, but you really don’t have to do everything yourself. Okay, you’ll probably not ask your 13-year-old son to be in charge of the turkey. But, he can take out the trash, run the vacuum cleaner, or set the dinner table. (Or, if there is any other chore that might include the potential for explosions, he’ll be eager to help. Just kidding. Sort of.)
5. Give yourself some margin to do something that you truly enjoy on Thanksgiving Day. At our home, my wife Jenny loves to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television during the morning. (I’m not a fan.) But, she really enjoys it – and it’s her Thanksgiving Day too, so she gets control of the remote, while I find other things to do.
6. During the Thanksgiving season, find a way to get your family involved in giving. Whether it’s the gift of a pumpkin pie to a shut-in, inviting another family to your Thanksgiving Dinner, raking leaves for the elderly couple down the street, or making a contribution to a local shelter, do something for someone else – something that your family feels good about. The simple act of giving is likely to increase the joy of your own Thanksgiving celebration.
7. Remember, kids will be kids. Let them be kids. Within reason. I remember our extended family gatherings for Thanksgiving Day when I was a kid. It was exciting to get together with all of my cousins. Invariably, we ended up getting ourselves into trouble. I remember my mother taking me aside and asking, “Do you want to go home right now?” Horror of horrors. I wanted to stay and join in on the fun! I can still hear that threat in my head 40 years later.
So, whether you have an extended family gathering planned for Thanksgiving, or just your immediate family, remember that kids are still kids, even on a holiday. If your kids argue the rest of the year, they’ll probably argue on Thanksgiving Day. If your son is prone to meltdowns towards the end of the day because he gets tired, you can expect the same on the holiday.
There’s nothing wrong with talking to your kids about your behavioral expectations for them on Thanksgiving Day beforehand. In fact, it’s a good idea, especially if you are going to be with extended family and if there will be lots of youngsters around. But, be realistic and reasonable. If something does happen where your son or daughter misbehaves, resist the urge to publically reprimand (and possibly humiliate) your child (or yourself). Step away from the crowd with your child and handle any discipline as quietly and privately as possible.
The same concept applies to teens. Many teens just want to get out of the house as quickly as possible to meet and hang out with friends. For some teens, spending a full day with family can seem like a prison sentence. So to avoid the potential “Dad, you are ruining my life” scene around the Thanksgiving dinner table, be proactive and talk about T-Day expectations with your teen ahead of time. It will be much better for both your teen and for you, for example, if you to determine before Thanksgiving Day, that your daughter may (or may not) go out with friends after dinner.
8. Like water off a duck’s back. Okay, it’s almost inevitable, isn’t it? Almost every family has at least one member who loves to stir the pot and push buttons. Your sister-in-law will make that sniping comment about the turkey being too dry, or you mother will criticize your watery gravy, or cousin Gary will (again!) bring up that Thanksgiving nightmare from 10 years ago when your family skeleton jumped out of the closet for all to see. So, just expect that some snarky comment will fly around on Thanksgiving Day. Get ready for it. Then, when it happens, do your best to ignore it, or make light of it. Just shake it off and let it go. These comments are almost always an exercise in fishing. Remember, the fish who gets hooked, is the fish that takes the bait. Don’t’ take the bait.
9. Plan an optional, after-dinner activity. I say optional, because, some (like me) just want to curl up in a recliner, in front of the television (football!) and snooze after the big meal. But, if you are hosting T-Day for a larger group, some may appreciate something to do after dinner. Some may enjoy a group walk around the neighborhood, throwing a football around on the lawn, or some type of board or card game after dinner. The secret to success here is to avoid making a big deal of the optional activities. Don’t offer anything that is too complicated. Oh, and by the way, don’t offer anything where you have to be the person in charge!
Thanksgiving Dinner tips:
Plan ahead if you are preparing the Thanksgiving meal this year. Preparing a big Thanksgiving meal, even if it’s just for your immediate family, is a lot of work! Planning ahead helps to minimize stress on Thanksgiving Day. Less stress = more happy.
            – How many people will you be preparing to serve?
            – What will be on the menu?
            – Simpler can be better. Keep the menu as simple as possible. Don’t overreach on planning too many side dishes or desserts.
            – Who will help to prepare the menu items? When will you need them to help?
            – What menu items will you ask others to bring, pre-prepared to your home? This is a great way to reduce stress (and expenses) particularly if you are hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner for a large number of people.
            – Make out your grocery list, and then do your shopping as far in advance as possible.
            – Do you need to buy any utensils or equipment to prepare your menu items?
            – Plan which menu items you can prepare in advance (the day before, two days before, etc.) Set a schedule for when you’ll prepare your menu items. Stick with the plan.
            – Plan for the use of your stovetop, oven, and microwave on Thanksgiving Day. Stagger preparing menu items throughout day so that you don’t end up with a stressful traffic jam on the stovetop right before dinner.
            – Are you trying a new menu item on Thanksgiving Day? Try making it a week or two in advance so you can determine if you really want to serve it on Thanksgiving Day. This practice run will also give you a better idea of how much time and effort will be needed to make the dish on T-Day.
            – Cheat. There are a number of good pre-prepared options that can be purchased at local stores that can make your Thanksgiving preparations less stressful. In our area, for example, Costco makes great (and cheap) pies. Local bakeries are great for picking up quality breads, rolls and desserts. Bring some home, and add your own finishing touches, if you’d like, for that “homemade” appeal.
            – Make a dinner checklist – and then check it off as you go along. Make a list including all your menu items, your serving dishes, utensils, condiments, salt and pepper, etc. Then, as you get ready to serve dinner, you’ll be able to tell what you’ve forgotten to set out. (And, if you are like me, you will forget something… hence the checklist.)
            – Plan ahead for clean up. Oh, that the Thanksgiving Day work would be over once dinner is finished! Cleaning up after dinner can be the most tiresome and the most tedious of chores. So, ask family members in advance to help with the post-dinner clean up. Give specific assignments. As they say, many hands make light work.
May you truly have a happy Thanksgiving!
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
…always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:21
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

HomeWord – How to Have a “Happy” Thanksgiving.

The Best Players in Baseball

Who are the best players in baseball? Players who never fail? Players who don’t attack other players? Players without obsessive pride? Here are a few: Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mariano Rivera, Christian Guzman, Matt Holiday, Jamie Moyer, Ryan Church, Lance Berkman.

They are so dominate. They believe in God.

Rivera is a devout Christian. During his childhood, neither he nor his family attended church, but after a born again experience in his early 20s, Rivera—and subsequently his parents—became religious. He maintains that God has a reason for everything that happens. Rivera has publicly said that he is going to be a Christian pastor when he retires from baseball. He is often reading the Bible in the Yankees clubhouse. He has payed for a church to be built in his home Town of Panama City. He is still caring about them after he is the best reliever in the game. He is truly invincible.

Albert Pujols has contributed to more donations than he has longballs. In 2006 his team one the World Series. He is an amazing christian, he always puts his family first. He has showed christian leadership and through him he has changed so many peoples lives.

Lance Berkman is the first baseman of the Houston Astros. He was raised in a christian home. A little after, he was swearing like a sailor, spending every night in a bar. When he reached his sophomore year in college he found guys at his school that were at the same level he was at, they started encouraging one another to get deeper with God.

Jamie Moyer is playing in Philliedelphia and has a foundation called the Moyer foundation. It helps children in severe distress, children without the money to pay for the healthcare. He has created camps that help children get comfort after the death of loved ones.Matt Holiday is an amazing Christian leader on his team, even in the hard times. Last season in the clubhouse you wouldn’t find any penthouses, playboys, or a maxim. They would read the Bible, car magazines, sports illustrated and the newspaper. Other team mates that took part in their weekly Bible study were  Todd Helton who is one of the most respected players of the game, Jamey Carrol, and Choo Freeman. They made it to the world series last year as a christian baseball team.Christian Guzman and Ryan Church have been holding their team to Christian morals. Once there was a player(name unknown) on the nationals that wanted to do batting practice instead of going to there weekly seminars but Ryan Church was firm and said no, your coming.

Josh Hamilton was into drugs; then he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior and has fought his way back up to an all-star, and back up as a MVP candidate. He encourages you to do the same. Read John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believed in him would have everlasting life.”

To God Give the Glory!

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