Wednesday, April 9, 2008


This weekend the son of a friend of mine was in an automobile accident on the edge of town. He suffered a broken neck with severe damage to his spinal chord. As a result, he is paralyzed from the chest down and is suspected to be this way for the rest of his life. As I visited with my friend, he mentioned that he was questioning whether he had done a good job in raising his son. I think this is a question that all parents will have in their minds at some point or another in their lives.
There are lots of ways to get advice on raising children. Some are very good and some may not be. How do we know we are doing our best? I would like to throw in my 3 cents worth, on this subject.
1. Seek God’s help, when planning a family and at every stage of their life as they grow and mature into adulthood. He created you and them. Who could be better to help you do your best?
2. Be there for them. Don’t let your life become so busy that you’re not able to spend time with them every day. I know that this is hard to do because of varying circumstances, but when you decide to have children, you should make the commitment to being there at least 358 days of the year if at all possible. You can’t do the best job at raising them if you’re not there. When you are around them they will seek to be like you, so take advantage of this to show them Christ living in you. Know that if you're not there that this important part of their life will be compromised.
3. Establish healthy communication with them from the time they are born and keep those lines open and available for the rest of your life. Communication must go both ways. Many great moments will come from this step.
These three areas are very basic and I know there is much more to raising children than just these three, but if you do well in these three, I believe the rest will fall into place with God’s help. Trust in him and he will bring it to pass
I have attached a picture of my son-in-law holding my grand daughter to illustrate what I have been saying. Notice the look on Kadences face as she pears into her daddy’s face. There is a love and a devotion that will be there forever if Jeff cultivates it. I know that’s his goal and I know he is seeking God’s help in doing so. Therefore, I know that it will happen. Praise God. What comfort this brings to this PaPa.
As to the friend I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, he has been doing his best in raising his son for the past few years and because of that, he will be able to make it through this very trying time in their life. He lives the verse that says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess 5:16-18 NIV

Monday, March 31, 2008


Last week I had the privilege to spend an hour at the Village with some friends of mine. They aren't exactly the kind of group that you would expect someone my age to be running around with, yet I found it especially rewarding to be with them.

They averaged approximately 40-45 years older than me and have experienced many more changes in their lives and the world around them, than most people I know. Most (all but two) of them were women.

We spent the time talking about The Word of God in the Book of John. Specifically the 13th and 14th chapters. It was fun to listen to them as we talked about The Lord's Supper and how he taught the Apostles to serve by setting an example for them in washing their feet. These people understood what it means to serve.

I remember thinking as we talked, "It would be good to bring some of the children from church up here to meet these people." Oh we have gone caroling there and have even taken May baskets up to give to them. But I think it would be good to bring the children up and play Bible trivia with them some day. It would be good for the children to see how important the Word of God is to the Elderly, and it would be good for the elderly to be around the energy of the children, if only for an hour or so.

I was especially touched when I read from the 14th chapter of John were Jesus says, "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." These people had those verses memorized, and you could tell that the verses had special meaning to them.

Is your heart troubled? Do you have any hope? Memorize these verses. Jesus was talking to those who were close to Him. He was talking to those who believed in Him. Come close to Him. Believe in Him. Know that he has gone to heaven to prepare a place for you.

I'm quite certain that some of the people that were there at The Village that day took great comfort in those words and the promise they bring. What a blessing it was for me to witness that. How about you? Can you take comfort in those words?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hey All,
Here is an e-mail that I recieved that is worth taking another look at. I wish I knew who the author of this is but I just don't know. The wisdom is evident. I hope you'll enjoy.

Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and scorching sun, only that can produce beautiful barn wood.

A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking. He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway. I told him right off he was crazy. He was a city type, you could tell by his clothes, his car, his hands, and the way he talked. He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale. I told him he had a funny idea of beauty.

Sure, it was a handsome building in its day. But then, there's been a lot of winters pass with their snow and ice and howling wind. The summer sun's beat down on that old barn till all the paint's gone, and the wood has turned silver gray. Now the old building leans a good deal, looking kind of tired. Yet, that fellow called it beautiful.

That set me to thinking. I walked out to the field and just stood there, gazing at that old barn.

The stranger said he planned to use the lumber to line the walls of his den in a new country home he's building down the road. He said you couldn't get paint that beautiful. Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and scorching sun, only that can produce beautiful barn wood.

It came to me then. We're a lot like that, you and I. Only it's on the inside that the beauty grows with us. Sure we turn silver gray too... and lean a bit more than
we did when we were young and full of sap. But the Good Lord knows what He's doing.
And as the years pass He's busy using the hard weather of our lives, the dry spells and the stormy seasons to do a job of beautifying our souls that nothing else can produce. And to think how often folks yell because they want life easy!

They took the old barn down today and hauled it away to beautify a rich man's house.
And I reckon someday you and I'll be hauled off to Heaven to take on whatever chores the Good Lord has for us on the Great Sky Ranch.

And I suspect we'll be more beautiful then for the seasons we've been through here...

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Another of our children just had a birthday. Our fifth child (Shane) just turned 14. How can that be possible? That’s just one year from a learners permit. THAT’S REALLY SCARY!!!!! It seems like just yesterday that our first child was born. It is very true, “They don’t stay young for long!” I think Shane has found his gift though. It’s MUSIC.

Our children haven’t really had a chance in this category. Sheryl plays piano very well and gives lessons. She can sing very well too though she’s reluctant to admit this. Shane too, has a wonderful voice. Each of our children has demonstrated perfect pitch from the time they were very small.

I’ll never forget the time we were driving to church and as we did quite often, we were singing. I’m not sure who all was singing the melody and who was singing harmony at the time but I do remember looking at Sheryl at the time and saying, “Listen!” We were hearing a third part coming from the youngest member of the family of the time. Cody, at the whopping age of 3 was singing tenor. No one had taught him that, he just heard it and sang it. Each of our children has been this way and Shane’s no exception.

Music is a part of our lives in the Petersen family. As I write, I’m listening to praise music. As I said before, “Shane is gifted in music.” Not only can he sing well but he loves playing the guitar. He has taken that ear for music and the coordination that he has developed playing Guitar Hero and put them together on the guitar. He picks up chords and licks quicker than most anyone I’ve ever known. I’ve played guitar since I was 12 and Shane has learned as much as I did in 25 years in the first 2 years he has played.

I praise God for this gift he has given Shane, and I’m looking forward to hearing and watching him develop this talent in the next few years. Oh, Shane’s still a young 14 year old. He’s been known to get in trouble in music class because he would rather use that wonderful voice for talking than singing. As he grows older, I know (or at least I pray) he’ll begin to make wiser choices. But for now, he’s still a little 14 year old learning to use a gift. What a blessing.

Monday, February 25, 2008


My daughter has commented at least once a week, for the last month, that I need to update this blog. So, in honor of my first child, here is an article that is fitting.

Slacker! I’ve been challenged in the past while watching students at the academy and at the college, by this word “slacker.” I was reminded of the word this morning as I was greeted by Mark, “Do you have your article done?” “No,” I replied, “But I will soon.” To which he exclaimed, “Slacker!” It reminded me of Proverbs 18:9 where it says, “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.” (NIV) You know, we don’t like to be labeled with this word, but often we deserve it (as I did this morning). I’ve known that this article is due on this day for months now. Mark reminded me then, and he reminded me last week. So what’s my excuse? I’ll have time later, I thought.

My mom used to say, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” I wonder if she got that from another verse in Proverbs were it says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow" — when you now have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:27-28) Couple those verses with these. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24) This puts a new light on the work slacker all of a sudden.

I’ve watched so many students (myself included) put off the homework assignment that they were given at the beginning of the semester until the day before it was due and then stay up all night to finish it, knowing that it isn’t the best that can be done. Only to hand it in saying, “It’s good enough.” Well is it? Is it good enough when you are doing it for the Lord? I don’t think so! There’s much that can be said on this subject, but I think I’ll close with another set of verse from a wise man.

I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:30-34)

Slacker! I don’t want to carry that label around with me any where. I don’t want to be named in the same family as the one who destroys. Thanks Mark, for reminding me. That’s what brothers are for.