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TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, February 13, 2022 | Meaningful Connections Series | Meaningful Relationships 

Dr. Cinda Swan:

Yes. Good morning. And, uh, we wanna thank you for joining us. Those of you online,

Dr. Terry Swan:

You know, a February is of course the, uh, month of Valentine's day. And it gives us an opportunity to think some about the ones we love. And so what we've been asked to do by the pastoral staff is really kind of a tall order, but I believe God's up to the task and that is to help us think through relationship truths from the time we're single all the way to the point where we're parenting and raising children. And we really believe that our relationships are meant to be a reflection of our relationship with God.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

That's right. And I know I've said this before here, but it's so good. I wanna say it again. We believe a Christ. The world sees is reflected through our relationships.

Dr. Terry Swan:

Yeah. And then we quote from the Bible from first John, it says we love, or it could say we are able to love because God first loved us. And didn't you enjoy the music by the way earlier on when, when I was singing, I need you that wonderful, uh, praise on. I was thinking how good it was of God to bring a boy who grew up in a lovely little village. Now I grew up in a small town when fourth streets on the edge of town, that's small. It, it may be bigger than CREs bureau for pastor Erics, always talking about that. But it's way up in Northern Wisconsin where right now it's so cold that Starbucks coffee on a stick. Okay. It's, it's cold up there, but that God would allow me to end up meeting a girl from Denver, Colorado who traveled all around the world. Her family moved all around the world growing up. And you moved 13 times by the time you were 16. So you never had a place to call home.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

That's right. And then God brought me to Campbellsville. And I found out that all my dad's side of the family originated in from Taylor and green counties.

Dr. Terry Swan:

What's

Dr. Cinda Swan:

The kids and the, the Houston house museum. That's behind the Walmart. My great, great grandmother, Isabella Houston grew up in that stone house. So in that amazing God here, I traveled all around the world and God brought me back where I live now on the very land my ancestors used to farm. So God has a plan.

Dr. Terry Swan:

See, ultimately everything's about God and, uh, uh, pastor Erics been preaching this wonderful sermon series on meaningful connections. And we wanna say in the, at regard that Jesus is the one we look to as a source and a guide for all our relationships. So this is where we start and it actually gives us a right perspective on everything. So we got a message of hope. God has an arrowed truth for everyone this morning. Uh, it's gonna speak to everybody, individuals for husbands, wives, parents, grandparents, and at any age or any stage, you can increase your relational intelligence. Uh, Cindy and I, we've been married a long time and we see that our marriage is a work in progress. We're better than we were 20 years ago or, or 10 years ago. And we are improving our batting average. And we know that your relationship IQ is really more of an, I will.

Dr. Terry Swan:

It's being determined to work at the things that matter the most. So we're, we're really gonna paint with some broad strokes this morning, something for everyone. And we say that God, as a pattern for learning relationships, you primarily learn them healthier otherwise in your family of origin. So here's a question. How did your family do growing up? What kind of grade would you give the family that you grew up in? Because the family is a little microcosm of society. That's how you learned to relate to you, learn to connect. You do all those things. And then what happens? You grow up yourself. You launch out into singleness, you get married, you have children and the cycle repeats itself all over again. And without reflection, without intentionality, without being attentive to the scriptures, you and I are likely simply to replicate many of the relationship mistakes that our families made when we were growing up. See it takes effort plus insight. And you do that onsite in your family that you are right now. That's what creates a good marriage and a good family. The holy spirit empowers you to be better than your family of origin.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So what we wanna do, we're going to focus first, uh, for a few moments on our youth and young adults. And we're gonna start with the question that we found to be foremost on the minds of our students. During the years we taught at Lindsay Wilson college. And you know, it didn't matter how serious the discussion was in the classroom. We could be about social justice or climate change or nuclear war. And our students had a way of maneuvering that discussion too. Does God have someone picked out for me to marry? And if so, how do I know?

Dr. Terry Swan:

Yeah. To answer that question, we start with Jesus statement in a verse that many of you have have been memorized. It's Matthew 6 33 seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And then what does it say? All these other things will be added unto you. That's right. See a God first attitude shapes all the decisions that we make in young adult that affect us forever. And if you are ignorant of God's word, then you'll be ignorant of odds will. Now I, I wanna give you just a little bit of my history here. So I gotta go way back. I gotta go back to BC, BC for me means before Cinda. Okay. Uh, uh, this is before we met, this is before I became president of her fan club. Okay. And when I was in college in August, before my senior year, I had some big decisions to make.

Dr. Terry Swan:

I wasn't dating anyone. I was single and ready to mingle, but there wasn't any girl out there that really fit the bill that loved God like I did. And out I was a bachelor ready to earn a bachelor's degree. And not only that, I didn't have a job and here I am approaching my senior year. I didn't even like what I was majoring in, in college. And, uh, I purchased a classic book that someone recommended I read and it's called the cost of discipleship by Dietrich, Bon and Hoffer in one, uh, August day, about three weeks before my senior year started, I took that book and a pillow and a sleeping bag. And I went out and sat under a tree on the college campus. And I read the book and I was deeply convicted by it. It was a book really to use three trees, language about being all in.

Dr. Terry Swan:

And I remember having such a moment of clarity and deep repentance that I actually set the book down on my sleeping bag. And I looked up to God in heaven. And I said, God, I thought I was surrendered. But now that I've read this, I don't really think I am. Cuz I suffered from something that I bet some of you deal with. I call it destination disease. You know what I'm talking about? You're always looking ahead over the horizon. What's next? Where am I going to next? Instead of enjoying the moment in front of me, that God gave me. In fact, if there was a proverb to describe me at that time in my life, it would be many are the plans in the mind of a man. And that was me. And at that point, as I looked up to God, I said to God, I truly surrender.

Dr. Terry Swan:

If I never meant it before God at this moment right now I do. I mean it, your will, your way, your plan for my life, whatever it is I surrender. And I give it up to you wherever you're gonna send me at that point. I'd really meant it before God. And then I went back to reading and it is remarkable what God can do in just one divine moment of surrender. You know, Jesus told us to sit down and count the cost. And later on, he said, likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has. And that for me included my willful plans, Jesus said he cannot be my disciple. I want you to note that Jesus did not say that, oh, you could be a half hearted disciple or you could be a mediocre disciple. Jesus said, if you are not willing to give it all up to me, he said, you cannot, you cannot be my disciple. And so I gave it up and what God did in the next three weeks was absolutely remarkable. First of all, I was actually able to change my major to Christian education in fall of my senior year. Do not try this at home kids. Okay. The God fixed my major. And then I got a job at a nearby megachurch as the youth director. And so now I had some income and then I met my future wife when school started and I didn't even know it yet.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

Well, I agree with Terry that putting Jesus first is ground zero. That's the beginning place for a truly meaningful, impactful life. And I also want to encourage our young people. It's never too early to begin praying for your future spouse. I started praying for my future husband when I was 14. And when Terry and I compare our spiritual journeys, we can look back and we see every season where I spent time praying for my future spouse. God did something profound in Terry's life, not just spiritually, but guiding him and his life choices so that eventually we ended up at the same college. And before we went out on our first date, we had the good sense to go pray in the college chapel. And that actually he ended up being the last first date for both of us. And now over the years, I wanna tell you prayer has become even more of a priority because we have found that if there's one thing Satan could do to cripple our witness for Jesus, it would be to attack and destroy our marriage. So young adults, yes. To answer the question that was most commonly on your, on the minds of our students, scripture teaches very clearly God can and will for ordained the person you are to marry. Just think of Adam. You know, it was God who took no of Adam's singleness and got busy, preparing a help meet for him. And then Adam didn't have to go searching for her. God brought Eve to Adam.

Dr. Terry Swan:

We do believe that God picks out a person to be someone's spouse because of the story in Genesis 24, where Abraham sends out his trusted servant to find a wife for son, Isaac and the servant praise, let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed to be my master for my master's son. See God has a plan

Dr. Cinda Swan:

And we believe God, uh, appointed us for each other. I had a chance to attend centenary college right after I graduated from high school and flow. Uh, they offered me a full tuition scholarship, but as I got looking at the college and its courses, plus the fact it was located in Louisiana, I just sort of wrote it off. And I, I decided I would take a year just working while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And after about a year had passed. My dad was offered a job in Saudi Arabia and the, the prospect of moving to Saudi Arabia, you know, my mother and I would've had to wear bergs if we had ever go out in public. And, uh, as I prayed about it, I just knew that wasn't part of God's plan, just such clear sense. And God began to close door after door and there was only one door he left open for me.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

And that was to enroll at centenary college because they still had that tuition scholarship available for me. So after, uh, arriving at centenary, you know, the first time I ever heard Terry's name was before I ever met him. And what happened was I was going through freshman orientation and I got in a bit of a, a disagreement with my religion professor over the person of Jesus in the role of scripture. And, uh, he reached over and he grasped my shoulder rather painfully I might add. And he said to me, Sinna you have a blind faith, which I found very insulting that he would say that to me. Have you ever met Terry Swan?

Speaker 3:

Well, I'm, I,

Dr. Cinda Swan:

I, I didn't, I hadn't met Terry Swan. I didn't know who he was, but I figured somehow we must, he thought we were cut from the same cloth. And so shortly after that, about 10 days later, I did meet Terry Swan. And I wanna tell you, he was kind of the big man on campus, very popular, Very popular with the students of the female persuasion. I might add

Speaker 3:

It.

Dr. Terry Swan:

It's a cross I had to bear. I, I just know, I just know that I have absolutely fell head over heels in love with Sy Johnson. Uh, she has this beautiful voice that caught my ear and this graceful walk that caught my eye. And, but most of all, it was her love for Jesus that caught my heart.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

You know, I, I actually took that first two sentences out of this talk and he slipped it back in there.

Dr. Terry Swan:

I've never been slapped during a sermon before I actually kind of like it. It's a,

Speaker 3:

It's a,

Dr. Terry Swan:

Hey guys, guys. You remember when you learned in middle school that have a girl slaps you, it means she likes you. Do you remember that? I kind, I kinda like that. Well, You know, you go overboard, you go overboard when you meet your soulmate. And uh, you know, when you're really, really attracted to someone, you get that overall tingly feeling. That is the feeling of common sense. We even your body, okay. At that point, you just kind of go nuts. You know what I'm talking about?

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So what Terry and I are trying to say to our young adults this morning is a good life. A life filled with satisfying relationships begins with surrendering your life to Christ and putting Jesus first. And during these years, while you're single focus on seeking the Lord and growing as a disciple and let Jesus be your focus

Dr. Terry Swan:

And let the scripture guide your relationships and wait for love. The, uh, the first attribute of love in first Corinthians 13 is what it's patience. It's patience. Wait for God's timing. Do not give into the temptation that having somebody is better than nobody. And while you're waiting, you're on the outside looking in. See, so that's actually that you can educate yourself and read and watch videos or listen to sermons like this, you know, and, and as, and what you do is you're, you're kind of learning a new skill set. It's like learning how to dance. You learn some new steps and this is the time to do it before you get married. So right now a lot of people are, are reacting to marriage, right? Uh, some people are, are, are afraid of being married and other persons are a little too cavalier about the marriage, you know, commitment. And these are couples who think because they, they have such deep feelings of love that when they get married, uh, you know, marriage is gonna be like a walk in the park. Whenever I hear that marriage like a walk in the park, I think. Yeah. Like Jurassic park, maybe you better prepare yourself. Okay.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So let's talk about marriage specifically, because it is so integral to our, to God's overall plan for our happiness. The writer of Hebrew says this, let marriage be held in honor, among all, you know, marriage is such a beautiful blessing and a gift from our heavenly father. And we're to respect the institution of marriage and uphold its covenant as sacred in binding Jesus sanctioned marriage as between one man and one woman and spoke of God, bringing the man and his wife together. And, you know, marriage has a way of maturing us as Terry and I prepared for this talk. I just realized how happy and how much I have loved being married, cuz I can look back now on my life. And I see that marriage has been the chief means by which God has grown me closer to him, to love him and to serve others. And the longer I've been married to this wonderful companion that the Lord has given to me, the more I'm coming to realize just how joyful and purpose driven God's plan is for marriage and family. And that the goal of marriage is to see with God and with one another.

Dr. Terry Swan:

Listen, I think that the marriage may well be the toughest and even the very best thing that you could ever do. And you knew you, you know that you're moving towards maturity as a Christian couple when your spouses needs and interest become as important to you as your own needs and interests.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

Okay. So I've had people ask me, I'll write Cindy, what's it really like to be married to Terry Swan? And I tell him, well, he he's, he's romantic. He's witty. He's charming. He's honey, I can't read what you wrote here.

Dr. Terry Swan:

That's except

Dr. Cinda Swan:

What, what does this word

Dr. Terry Swan:

Say? Humble?

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So my daughter and I were having a discussion a few weeks and we were asking each other, what is it that when two people meet and suddenly they really hit it off, like there's a connection. They form a bond. And as we continue to talk this word kind of rose up in my spirit, empathy, empathy, empathy is what can move a marriage from low satisfaction to high satisfaction. And so Terry, I know you have written about empathy in your books. Would you talk to us a little bit about empathy,

Dr. Terry Swan:

Right? We always start with the scripture regarding this wonderful verse in first, Peter three, seven husbands, likewise dwell with understanding giving honor to your wife. Two empathy is just having one person who really gets you, who really understands you and accepts you at the same time. And so really the admonition here in scripture is for men, you become a student of your spouse live with understanding. Now of course, this is true for wives with their husbands as well. And when you do that, your partner will feel deeply valued as you both understand them and you accept them and believe me and you, you know, this married, especially married person here, it takes great intentionality to begin to sense how your spouse feels and thanks. And you have to show your full attention and to show that you're with them.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So in other words, you have to become a good listener. That's the

Dr. Terry Swan:

Key. Yeah. I would even say an exquisite listener to your partner. Uh, would they put the next, um, slide up because we, we think of the steps, like the tears of a wedding cake, you know, weddings are emotional events. Even the wedding cake has tears. So, uh, that was a bend. Okay, go ahead.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So deep communication, primarily listening leads to understanding. And as our understanding grows, we begin to empathize. That is we begin to feel along with our partner and that leads to intimacy, which is the goal of marriage. You know, God created us for intimacy for, with himself. And then with one another in relation to himself, did, does not the scripture tell us how God delighted to walk every evening in the garden with Adam and Eve. And then with one another, you know, during creation, God looked every day and he said, and declared his creation was good, but then something came along that wasn't good. And for the first time God looks and says, it is not good for the man to alone. So we were made for companionship.

Dr. Terry Swan:

The, you know, the thing is when you're, you're courting one another and I, I, um, I'm gonna use a basketball term here, even though I do know it's super bowl Sunday. Okay. I understand that. But uh, I, I use a term, I call it a full courtship press. You know, that time of, of serious leading up to marriage is that time where you're showing that you're interested in the other person you're so into them, you wanna be around them, you listed them, you talk to them, uh, you sit close, you touch, you, hold hands out in public and then you get married and you really don't see newlyweds out in public very much. Um, I don't know why that is really, but of course, you know why it's because you were made for this kind of intimacy, God designed it. This is God's plan. But what often happens is when we've been married for a while, the pursuit slows down and all it means is our energies get diverted, right?

Dr. Terry Swan:

We've got a job. We've got career, we've got it. Education. We got children, we got all these things to do. And we're just not as much into each other. And it isn't so much like a blowout in the marriage. It's more like a slow leak. And you, the truth is we will never fully understand our spouses. We can spend a lifetime learning about them. Our spouses are deep Wells. I, I put it this way. My goal all is to not see through you, but to see you through, to support you and to court, you, you could write that down, man. You're to support, support you and court, you and every spouse, every spouse in every marriage has at least a dozen or more, very admirable qualities. And we should be the ones to regularly notice and affirm them. You know, about the time I get sent sent to figured out, she'll surprise me. She'll slap me during a sermon or something like, but, but no, the truth is her interests are so much broader than mine is. She is so much more engaged in God's world than I am. And as a result, my life becomes richer.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

Well, I've just learned something of a, about Terry all these years, we've been married. And, uh, two months ago he was invited by United theological seminary to be the plenary speaker on the subject of trauma. And I didn't realize this until I went up there with him. He is a national level recognized voice in this subject of, and it was brilliant. You did a brilliant

Dr. Terry Swan:

Job. Thank you. Thanks

Dr. Cinda Swan:

All these years, living with me made you an expert in trauma.

Dr. Terry Swan:

No, no. I gotta say no, but I will say that your efforts and empathy will always pay wonderful dividends in your marriage. It is were at the time and the effort. That's our word for married couples.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So we move now in ever widening concentric circles from singleness to marriage and now to family. And certainly we can't do family well, unless scripture guides us. And as Terry and I began to talk about family, a couple things struck us right away. First of all, because of sin, all families deal with some level of dysfunction. And this is especially true as we got looking at the families within scripture.

Dr. Terry Swan:

Yeah. If you did nothing but read through the book of Genesis, my goodness, the, the original human family, they put the fun and dysfunctional from deceit and rivalry for, uh, siblings divided, loyalties, adultery, favoring, children, murder, greed, you name it. The patriarchs did it. Abraham twice passes off his as his sister in order to save his own skin. And then Isaac does the very same thing. And yet somehow God forgave them, work through them and use them to his glory. And while they didn't always live up to their faith, they live by their faith. And somehow that helps me reading that. I hope it helps you cuz parenting a family is such an enormous task and we all feel guilty and the patriarchs didn't have Bibles, but we do. And now we can learn from both their successes and their failures.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So that should actually be somewhat of an encouragement to all of us. And I know for me and Terry, it took a lot of hard work for us in the beginning. We had a lot to overcome and we mistakes. For example, uh, one thing I wish I had made more of a central part of our overall family identity. Would've been to cultivate more of a missional aspect where the whole family is on mission together in ministry and to learn to volunteer and take advantage to more service opportunities through our church or community. You know, I wasn't brought up that way to volunteer and I didn't realize the blessing and benefit of serving and volunteering until much later in life. But here's one thing I wanna share with you this morning. And if you're like me and you look back, maybe you have have some regrets or you wish you could have done things a little differently. I wanna say this. It is never too late. You can decide to be the one who picks up the torch and draws God's blessings and good will and favor and plan into your marriage or family or even your family of origin. You know, Terry and I reached out to my parents called wrote letters, uh, prayed for them, always trying to be an encouragement to them. And, uh, it wasn't until the last 10 years of my mother's life that she started saying to me, uh, on our phone calls, God bless you, sin. I love you.

Dr. Terry Swan:

Yeah. You know that our God's on a mission. And whenever we've been saying in this message that God has a plan, we're really saying that God is on a mission through Jesus to invite all of our family members into the forever family.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

And, and you know, family can be such a beautiful reflection of the missional heart of God. So in the Swan household, now I make it a goal. And whenever our adult children fly in for the holidays or come in together to be with extended family, our goal is to plan our, our holiday around at some service opportunity where we serve together one Christmas, just three, four years ago, uh, we planned a day, uh, to serve in a homeless shelter together. And those members of our family who were able to participate, it was such an incredible experience and blessing for us.

Dr. Terry Swan:

And we know there's some very wonderful families at three trees that already engage in activities like that and what you're doing for your family and your children and your grandchildren is really invaluable in regards to character building. And what you're doing is you're laying the foundation for these small ones. Not only to come to know Jesus, but to know how to serve him.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

Amen. So it's never too late. I don't care how much water may have passed under the bridge. It's never too late to begin being the person and creating the marriage or setting the tone of the family culture. You want to be a part of,

Dr. Terry Swan:

Well, that's gonna lead to one, excuse me, one final story of our trying to figure out family. Uh, of course we met in college, we got married, but when we completed school, I still had a lot of education left in my life to fulfill my calling. So I had to go through four more graduate programs.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

And how many years would you say that took you?

Dr. Terry Swan:

It took me about 10 years total. And uh, and so I just say college was the 10 best years of my life. Uh, uh, some people think maybe I was a slow learner since I went to school so long, but I tell people I did graduate in Ford terms. It was just the terms of Nixon Ford, Carter and Reagan. Okay. I just went a long, long time through school, but you know, I needed to do that, to fulfill the, the ministry that God was calling me to. And, um, you know, there's, there's just a few of you here in our home congregation that know this portion of our story. And some of you that know me, there's always been a drivenness about my life. And by the time I had just entered into my thirties, I, I was already the Dean of a college and I was a little bit intoxicated by work and I'm going dust till Dawn and, you know, getting affirmation and you know, all the stuff that people want in life, the big house.

Dr. Terry Swan:

And then one evening I had what psychologists call an S E a significant emotional experience. And at happened exactly half my life ago. And yet it is as real as this moment right now. And it actually changed my life's direction forever. Um, I was already leading a, a very busy life as Dean, when a search committee from another college came to see me. And they told me that I was their guy. It was a bigger job to lead a college, um, more prestige, um, money benefits, stuff like that. And, uh, and I needed some time to think about their offer because my obligations were already up here. I was just, just keeping my head above why doing all I was doing. And on that weekend, our, our family went to evening church for some kind of special event. I don't remember what it was, but we were sitting out there in the pew and our, our son ASA, some of you know, Assa.

Dr. Terry Swan:

He was then nine years old sitting to my left. And then our daughter, Eva, who, who was six, was sitting between Cinda and me. And, uh, in order to, have you ever done this with your kids? When they're at a lengthy event, we gave Eva, um, some color crayons and some paper just to keep busy. Okay. During this, during this service and about midway through the service, I happen to look down at my daughter's drawing and I know a little bit about art therapy, and I know that it things she can't express verbally, her drawing can be a, a, a view into her world and how she sees it. And, uh, I saw all the earmarks of a happy well-adjusted child. She had drawn a big son in the corner. She drew the house, she drew trees. She put herself in the center and there in line was her mother, her brother, the dog, the cat, the bird.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

Yeah. We, I think having lots of animals is a good thing. A

Dr. Terry Swan:

Family and CNDA looking down from the other side at Eva's drawing, whispered to her where's daddy in your picture. And she looked up in her six year old innocence and said, oh, he's at work. And, and she went back to drawing, you know, I couldn't tell this story for many years. It's so affected me. I actually had to leave the sanctuary because of the deep sobs that were swelling up inside of me, that the view of my precious children was that their dad was a big, important guy who wore suits and caught planes and went to meetings. And it, it just crushed something inside me because love my kids so much. And I'm actually thinking there's a whole bunch of people right now wa watching online or here in the sanctuary, who identify with me, it's really the bane of young adulthood and, and middle adulthood that you have dads and moms that are working so hard to provide a life for their kids, but then they don't have enough time to share in that for the kids in their way that they want to.

Dr. Terry Swan:

And so that was on a Sunday night and the next morning I came and I met with my administrative assistant and I canceled my appointments for the rest of the week. And, uh, I, I looked for a place to go where I could spend three days just thinking about my life and cider recommended. I go to a monastery. I, I, I'd never been honesty. You want to go somebody someplace quiet? So I did, I went to a monastery and I just brought along some fruit juice and some water and my Bible and a pad of paper. And I just wanted to think about my life. And then one other thing I brought with me was a note that Cinda, uh, stuck in my, in my paperwork and her note said, and I still have it by the way. After all these years, the note said, you know, Terry, God has given you many early successes in your life.

Dr. Terry Swan:

And she wondered out loud. If God was calling me to lead the quiet life for a while the road that doesn't give much esteem in the eyes of the world. And that's a road that she had been on for a few years and caring for our children. And she said, right now, at this time, my children needed me more than ever. And as I spent time praying and listening and humbling myself for God, the answer came. And that was that my first mid industry in life is to be to my family and that I was to return, but that I would go back into teaching in order that I could structure my schedule. And I came back and made the announcement that I'd be leaving the position that I was in. And the only people that it surprised were the people that really didn't know me very well.

Dr. Terry Swan:

And so, um, I would was really just being obedient by the way, I wasn't giving up anything. Anytime you're being obedient to God, you're not losing a thing. And now the swans, we, we did things kind of radically for a while. You remember what we did, we turned the television off for three years now. We, we still save some videos and we would rent movies when we wanted to watch it. But what we didn't do is just stare at the tee every night. Like a lot of families do, we played games, we interacted, uh, dinner time, became the Swan family theater. Um, you know, and, and, uh, we went on vacations and stuff. And most importantly, for me, every year, I would go on a vacation with each of my children, three to four days, just a vacation with dad. And we would go out and have a good time.

Dr. Terry Swan:

And we would sit and talk about life and values. And I connected with my children in ways that most dads just don't get the opportunity to do that. And of course, Cindy and I, we always still went on our honeymoons together. So we kept that good. And one of the feature we did that, that just a couple of, you know, about we, we, our children to read books, uh, and so they read lots of books and they made a very tidy allowance. Now, just let me ask you something. Would you agree that reading is the core of literacy? Amen. You agree? If you can read well, potentially you can do well in any academic subject. If you cannot read well, you are imp eat it in any subject or you're with me on that. So I wanted them to read and read and read, and we did, and we believe because of the attention that we gave to our kids and especially to their studies, uh, both of them went off to college when they were 15 years of age.

Dr. Terry Swan:

And I've actually wondered honey. Sometimes if we gave our children too much attention, because one went into politics and the other became an so I, I, I don't know if that was because of that. So some of, many of, you know, our son ASA, who's now Dr. AA Swan, and he has his own son and his daughter and his own company, great leaders and Eva, that little girl that was sitting beside me as an actress and a screenwriter. And just Friday, we enjoyed watching her on general hospital. So that was just kind of, kind of cool to see them grow up.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

Uh, I wanna interject something here. Um, do you know how significant dads are to a family? You know, it really bothers me what our call has done, or really what Satan has done to eviscerate the respect, the role, the headship of men in our families, listen to this St. Statistic from James Dobson, a focus on the family. If a child is the first to come to faith in a family, then there is a 3.5% likelihood. The rest of the family will follow. If the mother is the first to come to faith in the family, then that rises to 17% chance, likelihood that the rest of the family will follow. But if the father is the first to come to Christ in a family, there is a 93% chance that the rest of the family will follow. So what does that say about headship and the role and significance of husbands and fathers,

Dr. Terry Swan:

But listen, the, the best part in ending here, the best part of our St or about this struggle, and it was such a struggle. And you're you go through a struggle as well? The struggle to balance our work and our family, the best part is this. We made room for our children and now in their adult lives, they make room for us. The elder, uh, former president George H w Bush, when he was, was asked at the end of his life for all his many accomplishments of what was he most proud. He thought for a moment and said, this, my children still come to visit me. Our adult children are kind and caring and giving adults. And we're still a loving and connected family because we gave attention to relationships, to things that matter most. And for this, we give absolute all glory to our God. Yes.

Dr. Cinda Swan:

So as our worship team begins to come up this morning, let me just take a moment to summarize some of what we've been trying to say this morning for our young adults. We're asking and advising, put God first and wait for of couples become exquisite listeners live with your spouse, with understanding and families, parents, you be the ones who pick up the torch and set the culture of faith and love for your family. It's never too late.

Dr. Terry Swan:

We're thinking that there's some things where interesting in the mind of everybody today, it's never meant to feel a guilt or things like that. It's just a holy spirit speaking to you and reminding you that the people you love are your first ministry and that each of us can do it better. It's and it's a great statement. I love that our church here that many times we, we come to the altar and that's a good way to do it. You can do it in your seat, but some way to express to God that to his glory, you wanna do it better.

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