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Ron Edmondson

  • 10 Ideas for Raising Children to Become Generous Adults

    I have had conflict most of my life between what I think I want and what I really need.

    Most people share this conflict with me.

    That conflict also appears in our children as well.

    We don’t have to teach children to struggle with determining between wants and needs. It’s a natural response to life. And, if they need any help doing so—they can easily learn the struggle from us.

    As parents we are the primary shapers of our children’s attitudes towards money, things, and desires. Our children will either be “givers” or “takers” in society, and that will be greatly influenced by the life they live in our home.

    How do we raise generous children?

    How do we help our children (and ultimately ourselves) be people who genuinely enjoy living sacrificial lives—considering the interest of others—being givers rather than takers as the Bible commands us to do?

    Here are 10 tips which we tried to practice in our own home. It has been amazing to watch our boys, now young adults on their own, having developed generous hearts towards others. They are far more generous than I was at their age.

    And let me be clear. The fact that they turned out that way is all grace. God has blessed us greatly. But we have been intentional to live out Biblical principles—and we have learned that they work when applied “generously”.

    Here are 10 ideas for raising children to be generous adults:

    Have fun and be generous parents.

    The story is told of Jesus and the disciples attending a wedding. The party had been going for a while when something tragic happened. They ran out of wine. That was a serious problem to the host of the party. It was a huge cultural embarrassment to run out of food or wine. Jesus took some big barrels of water and turned them into the best wine the people had that night. The people were overwhelmed.

    The Bible says that was the very first miracle Jesus ever did. As culturally important as weddings were in those days, it still sounds like God met a want, rather than a need.

    It is very clear that God is not trying to keep us from having what we want or from having fun in life. God is not opposed to blessing us with things we want, but may not even need. We should not be afraid to do the same with our children. If we can afford to, and if our children are living within the boundaries set for our home, we should not be afraid to give them gifts they simply want, but may not even need. (I thought I would start with an easy one first.)

    Help children understand the difference between a need and a want.

    It is understandable why it is difficult to raise children who understand the difference between a need and a want when we as parents struggle with the same issues. This will take a lifetime of teaching.

    As much as God wants to bless us with wants, if we study the Bible, God seems far more interested in helping fulfill our needs than He does in giving us everything we want. In fact, God never promises to provide our want list, yet He does promise to meet all our needs (Philippians 4:19). Granted there are some that take verses like this out of context and teach that God gives us everything we ask for, but that doesn’t line up with the rest of Scripture.

    The problem from a Biblical perspective is that we have a messed up system of determining need versus want. That thing inside us that chooses good over evil, better or best, need versus wants, is broken.

    When we apply Biblical understanding, most actual needs go beyond just enjoyment for today or even just for me. For something to fall into the category of need, it should provide some lasting value to society or at least to my own character. Needs, beyond basics such as food and water, become things like righteousness—and love, and joy, and peace, and contentment.

    We can even ask ourselves, does this “thing” benefit someone more than just me? Does it add value to someone’s life or to my own character? A true need, in this context, almost becomes something that money cannot buy.

    We should consistently invest Biblical principles into our children—helping them understand the things that matter to God. Helping children develop a hunger for things they need—as much as, or even more—than things they want.

    Provide needs. Bless with wants.

    It is important that parents consider their system of meeting needs versus wants. Of course, that begins with a proper understanding ourselves of needs versus wants.

    Consider this question: Which gets more attention in your home?

    Does having the latest technology take a bigger role than teaching children to be good citizens and to generously love others?

    Does being the best on the traveling soccer or dance team have a higher priority than finding ways to serve others?

    Either answer is your choice—you’re the parent, but if a goal is raising future generous adults—you may have to consider some of the places you spend your energies and resources. When it comes to encouraging generosity, consideration should be given to use of time and money.

    Our boys never did without basics needs. And by needs here I’m even referring to housing, clothing, food, etc. They had plenty. But there were probably things they wanted that they didn’t have. In how they spent their time, we let them choose what they enjoyed doing, but we also limited the number of outside activities our boys could participate in at one time.

    And we looked for opportunities where we could give back to others. We prioritized our time. And we prioritized our “stuff.” We didn’t try to keep up with everyone else in terms of the “toys” they had. Having to wait until a birthday or Christmas for something they really wanted wasn’t unusual to them.

    Help children make wise choices with their own money.

    One of the primary reasons children should have access to their own money is so they can learn the value of it. Our children were always more careful spending “their” money than they are spending ours.

    Talk with them about how they should spend their allowance, birthday, or even money they have earned on their own. Help them learn what the terms budget—and savings—and investment. And tithe is still not a bad word either. Ultimately, they should give some to God, save some, and spend some for things they need or want (based on the system you have for meeting these in your home).

    We also freely discussed our own finances in front of our boys. We allowed them to know things like when things were tight financially and when we were giving to others.

    Consider the “big picture” of your child’s life.

    As a parent, we are a primary molder of our children. The choices they make in life—what they desire most—will largely be impacted by us early in their life. Their desires in life will be greatly shaped by the life they live in our home. (That’s a scary thought—isn’t it?)

    I heard a statistic once that children these days get 90% of everything they want in life. That doesn’t seem like the statistic for most of our adult want lists, does it? I can’t verify the statistic, but it sounds about right for most children I know—probably even for our own. The problem this creates is that somewhere children are going to face a stark reality in adulthood—when we seldom have all that we “want.”

    We have all heard stories of children of privilege who got everything they wanted in life, but who cannot seem to stay out of trouble as adults. They have no real sense of direction—no set of values to guide them—because they got everything they wanted in life, but nothing that they really needed!

    We kept these principles in mind as we parented. We were raising them to be adults. That one thought changed our paradigm many times.

    Spend more time, energy, and attention meeting needs than wants.

    At Christmas time, birthdays, and other special occasions we ask children what they “want.” There is nothing wrong with that.

    Most of the time we already know what they need. We don’t have to ask them if they need to be honest people. We don’t have to ask them if they need to have character, love others, or be generous. We do not need to ask them if they need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We know they need those things.

    We need to ask ourselves if we are spending as much time and energy helping them get what they need as we are trying to buy them what they want. Let’s be honest, providing for a want is more fun sometimes. But we must be willing to sacrifice even what makes us feel good as parents in order to do what is best for our children long-term. We need to give them what they need.

    It’s much more fun to give them wants, but it is far more valuable to give them needs.

    Model healthy personal choices between needs and wants.

    I think we teach our children to value the need more than the want by first modeling it for them.

    We cannot ask children to do something we are not willing to do ourselves. Children are smarter than that. Today’s generation is far more interested in truth and integrity than earlier generations. This generation despises hypocrisy.

    If children see parents saying one thing and doing another, they will reject that as being truth. We need to model and teach our children the proper concepts concerning money. Ultimately teach them that we are to be responsible with what God has allowed us to have. (When we had to use our credit card for purchases, for example, we usually explained to them why and that we would be paying it off quickly.)

    Children need to see their parents giving sacrificially of their time and resources. Volunteering at a soup kitchen may be a better activity for an upcoming special occasion than opening a bunch of gifts.

    Keep children properly grounded in a material world.

    Children need to know that the universe does not revolve around them. Our world as their parents may revolve around them, but the rest of the world thinks otherwise. Children need to have created times in their life where they have to wait for something they want. Teach and model for children a life that puts others needs and wants ahead of their own.

    Don’t give children everything; even if you can afford it.

    If children are encouraged by example to have a love of money—a love of stuff—chances are they will never have enough possessions in this world to be satisfied. (Read Ecclesiastes 5:10.)

    Plant within them a love of God, a love of people and a love of life and they will want to bless others—and the joy of their life will be much greater.

    Regardless of how wealthy a family is, children should not be so “privileged” that there are no longer any items on their “want” list. When this happens the child has a hard time developing a heart of giving, because they are often too consumed with acquiring more “stuff.”

    We have to model simple living sometimes for our children. IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO TO YOUR CHILD! In fact, that may sometimes be the exact thing we need to say. Every trip to the mall should not produce a new toy! (Okay, I know number 9 hurts!)

    Teach and model a love for God.

    Above all else, perhaps the greatest thing a parent can do to help children be generous people is to help them desire the things of God more than the things of this world. God is a generous God. The more we know and love Him, the more generous we become.

    Parenting is hard. And we all make mistakes. Here’s a prayer your way. Be intentional. We need great parents. We need generous people.


    Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about

  • 25 Life-Giving Statements Jesus Made

    I only read one statement of Jesus, but I couldn’t go any further in my reading.

    It was a statement I had read hundreds of times before, but this time it hit me differently. Deeper. More impacting.

    I love when that happens.

    I realized I often take a statement like that from Jesus for granted.

    Jesus—the Son of God—said something. Something so profound, so life-giving, and yet it has become so familiar to me that I almost gloss over it when I read.

    This time I stopped.

    I stopped and thought about the many other truths Jesus shared—often in a single sentence—which are life-changing.

    Perhaps some of these will be meaningful to you.

    Read through the list—memorize a few of them (you probably already have many of them). But don’t read them as familiar quotes that are usually written in red. Let them soak deep into your heart and mind. Let them add life to you. Be better with truth.

    25 life-giving statements Jesus made:

    “Take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

    “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37)

    “Go and learn what this means ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice'” (Matthew 9:13)

    “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2)

    “Ask and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7)

    “If the Son has set you free you are free indeed” (John 8:36)

    “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30)

    “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14)

    “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)

    “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)

    “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)

    “I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:7)

    “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

    “If you love me you will obey what I command” (John 14:15)

    “Your give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37)

    “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit” (Matthew 7:18)

    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8)

    “This people honors me with their lips but their heart is far from me.” (Mark 7:6)

    “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8)

    “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink…” (Matthew 6:25)

    “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do to them” (Matthew 7:12)

    “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

    “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29)

    “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

    I realize some of these can be misunderstood if out of context, so feel free to read the context of each of them. But the fact is these are things Jesus said.

    The Son of God—who is God—said them. Spoke them. Revealed truth to us.

    And every word He said has life-changing value.

    I wonder, if we really understood the magnitude of these words of Jesus and believed them—if they would change the way we lived our life? The confidence we have? The assurance in which we find hope?

    Which of these do you most need to apply to your life today?


    Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about

  • 7 Ways to Better Enjoy Reading the Bible

    I’ll never forget the day a young college-aged girl told me recently that she didn’t enjoy reading her Bible and asked if there was an alternative book.

    At first, I didn’t know what to say. Then I realized she was very serious.

    “Well…no!” I thought, but didn’t say.

    The Bible is THE BOOK!

    There is no substitute. There are plenty of great Christian books, but none compare to this one.

    That wasn’t a new concern. I’ve heard similar concerns many times. The Bible intimidates many people; even those who are avid readers of other books.

    I did suggest this girl could listen to the Bible on a CD or mp3. YouVersion will even read the Bible to you. But then I told her I’d give her some more suggestions.

    That’s what prompted this post. The reality is I think we need to figure out how to enjoy reading God’s Word. Part of maturing as a believer is to fall in love with the Bible.

    Here are 7 suggestions which may help:

    Pray – The Bible is not like any other book. You need God’s Spirit to help you understand and process it. You should always pray before and as you read it. Ask God to help you understand what you’re reading—even to help you enjoy it. Good news here! This appears, in my experience, to be one of God’s favorite prayers to answer.

    Version – Pick a version easy for you to understand. I would suggest you read a more literal translation primarily, but the paraphrase versions are good for casual reading. I suggest HCSB, NIV, or NLT for a more literal but very readable version; ESV or NKJV if you want a most literal translation; or for a paraphrase version, that’s extremely readable, try The Message Version. I read some of each of these for my studies and casual reading. (I wrote a post on how to select a version HERE.)

    Sharing – It brings Scripture to life when we can share it with others. Find a small group. That’s what church is great for at providing. Or find a group of guys or girls at a coffee shop or a couple of people from work. Studying the Scripture with a community helps energize you as you learn. When you talk about what you’re reading, it helps you value it more. (Read Philemon 6 for an example of this.)

    Journaling – Writing about your time in God’s Word will help you process your thoughts and keep a record of them. It’s exciting to go back over time and remember what you read before. It fuels your enthusiasm to study even more.

    Timing – I love the idea of reading the Bible through in a year. I’ve done this many times. I think it’s more important, however, that you benefit from what you’re reading. I sometimes meditate on a few verses or a story for a day—or a week. I also recommend people start with an easier book to understand and move to more difficult passages from there. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John are good places to start. And find the right setting. A comfortable chair, an open field—morning, noon, or night—what works best for you. And for as long as you can. Don’t put a time limit on it that adds more burden to the experience.

    Clarify – It’a best to have a study Bible for this part, but there are plenty of free online tools also. Look up words you don’t understand. Learn to use Bible dictionaries and commentaries. Use the table of contents. No shame. Look up passages which aren’t clear, cross-referencing verses with other similar verses using footnotes. For some people, having a Bible study to work through along with reading the Bible is helpful. And when you aren’t certain, ask someone you trust who understands the Bible.

    Relationship – The best way to fall in love with God’s Word is to get to better know it’s Author. It’s cliché now, but read it as a love letter written to you. If someone writes you a love letter, you’ll read it continually until you figure out what it means, and maybe even memorize parts of it along the way. If you can’t figure out something, you’ll consult the author.

    The greater your love grows with God, the easier Bible reading becomes—and the more enjoyable. You may even someday say it’s “fun”!

    What would you add to my list?


    Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about

  • 7 Suggestions When God is Silent

    Elijah had been used of God to hold back rain from the people for over three years, because of their sins. Obviously, he was not well liked as a preacher. I can imagine the stress he experienced during those years.

    Something strikes me, however, that seems to further complicate Elijah’s situation.

    Consider 1 Kings 18:1:

    “After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”

    According to a couple New Testament passages, this “After a long time” was actually three and a half years. The famine was three and a half years long. For three and a half years, the people apparently continued to sin, Elijah continued to hold on by faith, but God said nothing. God was apparently inactive… not speaking… even to His great servant Elijah during this time.

    Have you ever been there? Has the silence of God in your life ever been eerily strong?

    Imagine you had been faithfully serving… God is using you… you are in constant communication with Him… and then suddenly… everything is quiet. You have to wait.

    The separation must have seemed unbearable. Elijah is not liked and unpopular. He’s an outcast from the people and the One he trusted most was seemingly absent.

    God would soon do a miracle through Elijah… one he couldn’t even imagine… certainly not script, but during this period all Elijah could do was wait.

    If you have been follower of Christ very long, you have had periods where it seems God is nowhere to be found. We often call them periods of spiritual dryness. Sometimes I refer to it as being in a spiritual funk.

    What should we do during the times of silence, before the miracles of God come through for us?

    If you are like me, you can figure out how to celebrate a miracle. You don’t need much help doing that. The tough part of life is figuring out what to do during the years of silence… during the years when miracles are seemingly nowhere to be found.

    What do we do during the spiritually dry periods of life when we don’t hear clearly the voice of God?

    Here are 7 suggestions for those times:

    Don’t ignore the silence – Some of the biggest moves God has made in my life have come after a period of spiritual dryness… when it seemed like God was doing nothing in my life. Stay very close to God and watch for Him to eventually display His power. He will in the fullness of time.

    Confront known sin in your life – This wasn’t the problem of silence for Elijah, but the problem for the Israelites was that they were chasing after other gods and living lives in total disobedience to God. Sin may not be the reason you don’t sense closeness to God right now, but if you have known sin in your life it will affect your intimacy with God.

    Go back to what you know – Get back to the basics of the faith that saved you. You’ll do it 100s of times in your life, but you must remind yourselves of the basis of faith… which is the very character and promises of God. God is in control. He really is… even when it doesn’t seem that He is anywhere to be found.

    Make a decision… Choose sides – You can’t adequately serve God and the world. (Consider Joshua 24:15.) Something happens in life, often sin, busyness, boredom, or a tragedy… but if we are normal, we have periods where we grow away from our close relationship with God. God hasn’t moved, but if you’ve shifted in your obedience, get back securely on the right side.

    Trust More… Not less – Times of silence may be filled with fear, but ironically, these times require more faith. Times come in our spiritual life when our enthusiasm isn’t as real as when we began our walk with God. That’s not an indication to quit… it may be that God is using that time for something bigger than you could have imagined… but whatever is next will most likely require a deeper level of trust.

    Listen and Watch Closely – Some day God is going to make His plans known to you. Don’t miss them. He may come to your personally, through His Word, circumstances, or another person. You’ll need to be in a position to know that God is moving. (Read THIS POST if you need help discerning God’s will.)

    Get ready to receive – God will break the silence some day… and when He does it WILL be good. If you mope around in your sorrows, you’ll be less prepared to receive the good things to come. Not because of your circumstances, but because of your faith, clothe yourself in joy as you wait for God to bless you after the period of silence.

    Are you in one of those periods of silence today? How do you handle these periods of time?


    Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about

  • About Ron Edmondson

    Ron Edmondson serves as the senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, and has an impressive history of church planting and church growth. A nationally known Christian leader, he was raised in a Christian home and active in his home church, First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Tennessee, serving as a lay leader, deacon, Sunday School director, and teacher. After twenty years in business, including time owning an insurance agency and a small manufacturing company, Ron heard God’s call to ministry.

    A lifelong student of the Bible, Ron’s strong theological background guides him to teach faithfully from Scripture. Ron identifies himself as a wisdom seeker and a teacher.

    Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about