Top 10 List To Have Better Families Now!

1. As it is, when I’m preparing and writing a sermon I like to create a thematic playlist that matches mood, content, and any pop-culture references I’m guaranteed to make. Look out for songs about being a parent, being a child, the relationship between the two. But, also look for songs about or by famous families and tunes about siblings. It’s a pretty chill playlist. Enjoy and remember when I link to Spotify that if you enjoy the songs you should buy them, preferrably from the artists themselves.

2. Netflix and chill? Husbands, wives! People in families of all types! If you’re looking for a cathartic night in head over to Netflix and binge on these shows:

  • Parenthood: There are so many incredible moments in this show, and maybe because I’m a basic white gurl (love me some pumpkin spice), but for six seasons I felt compelled the day after a new episode aired to post which incredible moment made me man-cry on Facebook. And Adam Braverman is my spirit animal.

(Even with the obnoxious ET voiceover that video made me misty.)

  • Friday Night Lights: This is an earlier show by the same showrunner as “Parenthood” and it’s just as good. As a person who has zero frame of reference for Sport the football in the show wasn’t too big of a hurdle to get over. Because, despite my wife’s protests, the show is not really about football – that’s just window dressing. It’s really about this incredibly authentic family and the marriage between Coach Taylor and his wife, Tami.


  • Arrested Development: As the lead character says, “The most important thing is family.”

3. I made mention that the Book of Ruth is a sort-of Jewish Cinderella story. If you’ll let me put my book nerd hat on for a moment I’d like to talk about that. If you pay close attention to the movies and books you read you’ll start to notice that there’s only like five original stories, everything else is a rift on that. The “persecuted heroine who moves from obscurity to prominence” motif of Cinderella shows up in all sorts of cultures. The “Cinderella” motif likely originated in classical Greek literature, penned by Strabo, it is the story of a Greek slave girl, Rhodopis “Rosy-Eyes”:

They tell the fabulous story that, when she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from her maid and carried it to Memphis; and while the king was administering justice in the open air, the eagle, when it arrived above his head, flung the sandal into his lap; and the king, stirred both by the beautiful shape of the sandal and by the strangeness of the occurrence, sent men in all directions into the country in quest of the woman who wore the sandal; and when she was found in the city of Naucratis, she was brought up to Memphis, became the wife of the king … Strabo: “The Geography”, book 17, 33

Other “Cinderalla” stories from around the world include Ye Xian from China around the year 860 CE; Bawang Merah Bawang Putih an Indonesian and Malaysian story; the Vietnamese Story of Tam and Cam; and several versions can be found in One Thousand and One Nights; and of course the Book of Ruth.

4. The chief verse of the “Better Sundays Make Better Families” sermon was probably:

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. Matthew 1:17 NIV

Again, it’s as if Matthew is saying “How do you like ‘dem apples?” The promised deliverer doesn’t come through success and good behavior but rather through the same mess and muck that we all find ourselves in. Jesus, our high priest, the Messiah, is able to empathize with us and deliver us from our mess. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when reading genealogies but Jesus’ is like a primer on the key families of Israel’s history and loaded with fascinating family stories. The following video is a great explanation of why Matthew 1:17 is such an exclamation point on a fascinating list of losers and misfits:

Check out The Bible Project for more incredible videos and to support the good work of the Lord they’re doing.

5. A friend grieving the loss of a family member once read this poem to me and some friends. It is lovely and heartwrenching and I thought I’d share it:

Tim Seibles

Take a glass of water
Pour it in the street

After awhileit will
come back to you

from the sky
………….It may be many
monthsyears even
but that
………April will come
that one November
with the one
small cloud
…………looking for you

And even if it doesn’teven
if it never never comes
all those hours
…………….with your thirst
…………….your memory
licking the fire blue
…………..will leave your
hard brown face
…………..a leaf

shining in whatever
rain there is

6. Probably the goofiest page on Facebook that just makes me so happy is Eh Bee. These quick family videos are weird and hillarious.

Dad Life…

7. I was kind of hard on King David yesterday, using some strong language like “creep”, “dirtbag”, “coward”. I saw some eyebrows raised but I was just callsin’ ’em as I sees ’em. The guy did some jacked up stuff. There’s a painting by Jan Steen caleld “Bathsheba Receiving David’s Letter” where Bathseba is looking directly into the eyes of whomever looks at the painting, not in a seductive way but rather in a way that suggest culpability. Her eyes suggest that David’s sin is the same sin that ensnares us all, a violent self-centeredness.

Bathshea Receiving David’s Letter.Jan Steen

8. In between binging watching “Parenthood”, “Friday Night Lights”, and “Arrested Development” check out some of my personal favorite movies about families. And a bonus, each illustrates the messiness of family well:

  • The Fantastic Mr. Fox

  • Away We Go

  • Big Fish

9. One of the steps I mentioned to having better families was “exploring God together.” Here’re an article with reasons why to worship with your family, “11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family.” A follow up article by the same author, “The What, When, and How of Family Worship.

The Welty’s have a few ways that we worship intentionality and unintenionally. First, every night when we put Atticus down to sleep we take a few minutes to pray with him. Always thanking God for Atticus’ family (grandparents, aunts and uncles), for an event in the day (like eating In N Out), and “most of all, thank You for Your son, Jesus. In his name we pray, amen!” And we clap everytime we pray amen. We clap at least 12 times.

Alyssa prays with Atticus during the day whenever he’s fussy and it seems to calm him down, and he really likes to say “Amen!” and clap.

We also have a copy of “The Jesus Storybook Bible” that Atticus is too small for. He’s not ready for the stories but he likes the pictures and I can tell him the stories in my own words as quickly as possible.

Unintentionally, Alyssa and I have lots of conversations that spring up from whatever we’re reading in scripture, church, or whatever one of us happens to be thinking about at the time. She also helps me write all my sermons and I like to practice the each week’s worship set with Alyssa and Atticus around. It’s not great practice time but it is nice to take a break from binge watching “Parenthood.”

10. If you’re in Southern California and you want to have some family photos there’s no better photographer than Sam Jeet. Sam has photographed our wedding, Atticus’ birth photos, and his one year photos, I could not recommend her enough. Go to her website to see some beautiful photos and to book a session with her:

“Atticus Playing With Sand” Sam Jeet
“Welty Family” Sam Jeet

Top 10 List To Have Better Families Now!

Worship Review 4.26.15 – Lord of the Storm

This weekend we sang:

  • “Rejoice” by Dustin Kensure
  • “Behold Our God” by Sovereign Grace Music
  • “Man of Sorrows” by David Potter
  • “Grace Alone” by The Modern Post

Below is a playlist of the four songs we sang this week. Each song is written and produced by independant artists and guys who work for the local church. If these are songs you enjoy please consider purchasing them so that these artist will continue to write great songs for God’s children to sing.


Normally, I’d like to write something about how our songs fit together and how they played with the sermon in a harmonious way. But, not today.

Yesterday was a special service, due to circumstances beyond our control – ah, the life of the renter – we had a lovely outdoor service.

I never seriously considered rain (I’m certain Ryan did, he tends to thinks these things through) because we live in Southern California and we’re currently exeperiencing a severe drought. And when the sun shines constantly you begin to forget it. But, lo and behold, we had Weather this weekend.

In Southern California just the threat of rain feels apocalyptic. All weekend the clouds towered above the earth. As they grew larger and darker they loomed threateningly. They swelled beyond capacity with rain and burst. Some time on Saturday night I texted Ryan: “What’s our Plan B?”

On that day, when evening had come, he [Jesus] said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Mark 4.35-38 ESV

“Do you not care that we are perishing?” When I’m feeling bruised and tired, when the candle has been thoroughly burned through on both ends, when I feel like giving up it’s beyond tempting to demand of God, “Do you not care that we are perishing?”

It’s not tempting, it’s reality. I assume a defiant posture shaking my fists at the heavens. I begin to believe God is up there without a care in the world and we’re down here stuggling to no end. “Why have you forgotten me?” I cry, joining the Psalmist:

Deep calls to deep
as the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the LORD commands his
steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?”
Psalm 42.7-9a ESV

Is God sleeping below deck and the boat filling with water? Does He not realize? Is He not paying attention? Does God not care?

We’re drowning down here.

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4.39-41 ESV

The power and glory of God is a terrible and awful thing to behold and should cause us to tremble. AW Tozer writes in his book The Knowledge of the Holy that “…what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” The question that we all must answer: “Who is this man?”

Jesus Christ is the unchanging Lord of the Storm. He always has been, he is currently, and will always be. He is the Lord of the Storm when we the skies grow so dark we can no longer see and we forget. He commands the wind, he commands the rain, at his voice there is calm.

When I fell asleep Saturday night I fully expected to wake to dark skies, I fully believed that I would spend the majority of the morning scrambling to figure out how our church would gather to worship. I assumed that it would be my responsibility to manage the storm.

But I peered out the window when I woke and the sun was beginning to poke his head out over the hills in the east. The sky was painted with reds, yellows, and graciously with bright blues. A beautiful day was chasing me to church.

Before we gathered to remember the gospel and let the message of Christ dwell among us richly by the singing of songs the Holy Spirit was reminding me that it is Jesus, not me, who is Lord of the Storm. That it is Jesus who works all things together for the good of those who love God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42.11 ESV
Worship Review 4.26.15 – Lord of the Storm