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Our homes are filled with words. Some of these words are helpful and unfortunately, some are not.

What if we had some help thinking biblically about communication?

In today’s podcast, we’re going to be talking with my friend, Tim Shorey about his book Respect the Image. In that book, Tim uses the acrostic COMMUNICATE to give us biblical principles of communication.

Open Up
Make Time
Mean What You Say
Understand What You Hear
Nourish with Grace
Initiate Peace
Celebrate Others
Assume You are Wrong
Think the Best
Examine Your Heart

I think you’ll find our conversation enjoyable and practical as you seek to speak in a godly way and as you seek to train your children to speak in a godly way.

Tim has been a believer for over 40 years and has been in active pastoral ministry since 1982. He is Risen Hope’s primary preaching pastor.

He is the author of Respect the Image: Reflecting Human Worth in How We Listen and Talk.

He has also written An ABC Prayer to Jesus: Praise for Hearts Both Young and Old; along with two devotional books, Worship Worthy: Alliterative Adoration, and 30/30 Hindsight: 30 Reflections on a 30-Year Headache.

He and his wife, Gayline, have six adult children and more than a dozen grandchildren.

You can find out more about Tim at his website or on his Respect the Image Facebook account.

Resources From This Podcast

Respect the Image: Reflecting Human Worth in How We Listen and Talk An ABC Prayer to Jesus: Praise for Hearts Both Young and Old Worship Worthy: Alliterative Adoration 30/30 Hindsight: 30 Reflections on a 30-Year Headache: 30 Reflections on a 30-Year Headache

Respect the Image: Reflecting Human Worth in How We Listen and Talk, by Timothy Shorey
An ABC Prayer to Jesus: Praise for Hearts Both Young and Old, by Timothy Shorey
Worship Worthy, by Timothy Shorey
30/30 Hindsight: 30 Reflections on a 30-Year Headache, by Timothy Shorey
Respect the Image Facebook Page

Episode Transcript

Chap: I’m Chap Bettis, and you’re listening to The Disciple-Making Parent, where we seek to equip parents and churches to pass the gospel to their children. Our homes are filled with words: words we say and words our children say. And then some of those words are helpful, and unfortunately, some are not. What if we had some help thinking biblically about communication?

Hi, my name is Chap Bettis, and I’m the author of The Disciple-Making Parent. In today’s podcast, we’re going to be talking with my friend Tim Shorey about his book Respect the Image. In that book, Tim uses the acrostic C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-E to give us biblical principles of communication.

As he says in his interview, so many of his pastoral counseling issues were coming down to a lack of understanding of what the Bible says about how to communicate. And this book, Respect the Image: Reflecting Human Worth in How We Listen and Talk, represents a lifetime of study by Tim. He’s been presenting these principles for at least 20 years.

I think you’ll find our conversation enjoyable and practical as you seek to speak in a godly way and as you seek to train your children to speak in a godly way. I really think this is the definitive resource I’ve read on communication. It just fits hand in glove with The Disciple-Making Parent.

Tim has been a believer for over 40 years and has been an active pastor since 1982. He’s Risen Hope’s primary preaching pastor. In addition to Respect the Image, he’s also written An ABC Prayer to Jesus: Praise for Hearts Both Young and Old– we talk about that a little bit in the interview- and two other devotional books, Worship Worthy and 30/30 Hindsight: 30 Reflections on a 30-Year Headache. You can find links to those in our show notes. He’s been married to his wife Gaylene for 44 years and they have six adult children and more than a dozen grandchildren.

Before we start, I want to remind you that we give away the audiobook of The Disciple-Making Parent absolutely free. We are on a mission to equip parents to pass the gospel to their children and to disciple them, so The Disciple-Making Parent is the centerpiece of our ministry. It’s been endorsed by Al Moeller, Tim Challies and many others. You can have the audiobook for free. Simply e-mail and let us know you heard about the offer on the podcast. But for now, let’s think about the subject of communication.

Well, it’s a joy to speak with my friend Tim Shorey. Tim, thanks for joining me on the podcast.

Tim Shorey: Well, Chap, thank you for having me. It’s good to see you and good to be with you.

Chap: Tim’s and my friendship goes back -before we started recording, we were trying to remember- many, many years. Our church would have a retreat and we had different speakers. And as the lead pastor, I was always thinking, Who am I going to invite? And we eventually  we had Tim and he did such an excellent job.

And there’s just such a bond, friendship, chemistry. Our kids love his kids. He just became our, our default retreat speaker. And it was a joy every year to catch up with how he was doing and have him minister the word to us. But on one of those retreats, he actually gave the talk that became the outline for Respect the Image, which has to do with communication.

So Tim, tell a little bit about the background of those talks that you just gave over and over in public schools as well, and then talk a little bit about the book and where it came.

Tim: Again, as you were saying, Chap, we go way back and it’s fun to think about. I had almost forgotten it. And in fact, I don’t know that I had even thought about a long while the fact that I did some of this material for those retreats with your dear folks up there. And it does trigger thoughts about where did this all start in terms of the book and the content of the book. And I trace it back to is the many, many hours of counseling that I was doing as a young pastor in New Jersey back in the 80’s and 90’s, where I was putting in 15, 20 hours a week in counseling.

During those hours, I would begin to notice what were the primary needs that people had. And I’ve summarized those since then as being firstly, they need to know more of God.  Just more of who God is, what God is like and, and his glory and his love, and his goodness, his power, his grace, his mercy.

And then secondly, they need to know more of the gospel. What it means to be in Christ, to have Christ as savior, his love and our identity in Christ and all these gospel-rich themes. People’s understanding of the gospel all too often is too superficial and shallow to really strengthen them and empower them to do life in a way that is honoring to Christ and full of joy.

So more of God, more of the gospel, and then the third need that I saw, and it feels like a major come down from the first two, is they just need to learn how to communicate. Time and time again, and hour after hour, I would sit with people and realize the problems they’re having, the struggles they’re facing, come down to they don’t know how to communicate, or they’re not willing to communicate. But in many cases it was, they didn’t know how. They’d never seen it done. They had never heard it done. It wasn’t part of their upbringing. It wasn’t part of their life. And so I began to take people in my counseling to the Proverbs, where there are dozens and dozens of Proverbs that deal with communication, and to the book of James which obviously is very focused on communication issues, and the teachings of Christ himself.

As I repeatedly brought people back to communication principles, it began to take shape in the form of the acrostic. There really is the tie that binds the book together, 10 or 11 principles of communication that are just taught over and over in scripture and are essential for meaningful relationships in life.

And then there were two other truths that contributed to the book itself. One of them was the truth that God himself is a communicating. God talks to us. He doesn’t leave us in the dark. He listens to us and he talks to us, and there’s a relational component to God himself that actually traces back to the Trinity in eternity past. He has always been communicating even within his own being as Father, Son, and Spirit. And from the get-go, from the start, He opened his mouth to Adam and Eve and spoke and communicated and has been in 10,000 ways ever since. That truth is foundational to the book.

Then secondly, we are made in the image of God and as such, we should be those who communicate well because he’s a communicating God. Because we are made in the image of God, and we need to respect that image. I think it’s the ultimate game-changer when it comes to communication. Chap. If, if you’re an image-bearer of God, then that has to affect how I treat you. It has to affect how I listen to you. It has to affect the care with which I listen to you and the effort that I make to listen to you well and understand you well and deeply. And it has to affect my choice of words and my attitudes and my goals when I’m communicating with you.

You’re an image-bearer of God. If I don’t treat you with respect, then I’m really disrespecting God himself. And that concept, that application of the truth that we are made in the image of God really is, in my experience and in my heart and in my relationships, it’s foundational to everything.

The first time I really thought about it in connection to relationships was just a couple of months before our first-born daughter was born. I was reading a book on parenting, and it just made almost in passing the comment “Your child is made in the image of God,” and then went on to add a comment or two about what that means, you know, he or she is going to be able to do creative and wonderful things, which is wonderful. But the way it hit me was, your child’s made in the image of God. Therefore, Tim, you’d better be careful how you talk to her, how you respect her. There’s no room for sarcasm. There’s no room for name-calling. There’s no room for abuse. This child is an image-bearer of God. Therefore treat with all respect and love.

And it was life changing. My parenting changed even before it started just with that one concept. And the book really is a coming together of decades of ministry and thinking on these things.

Chap: Man, there are so many good ideas there. It’s just really helpful. You lay the foundation there at the beginning. So a couple of things. I don’t think we think of this idea that our sanctification should include our communication. That God wants to make me a better communicator. It was just very helpful to pick up your book and try and get some help. I just preached on communication and just to back up and say, “No, God is a communicator.” And just what you said, which is, “You’re communicating to people made in his image.” So be very careful. Study this, become skilled at this.

I’m going to put in a plug here. I think Respect the Image is the best book on communication that I’ve read. As I was reading it, I was thinking that guys like us, who’ve been in the trenches as pastors, we’re not on the stage a lot, you know? We’re not on the A-list up there. And so people put out stuff and people go, “Oh yeah, that’s pretty good.” But I think this is the definitive work, at least from what I’ve read for communication. It’s really going to be helping a lot of families as we communicate well, because oh my gosh, so many words in a family, right?  Words, words, words. And then our kids either over-communicate or under-communicate and they have anger, just family is a lot of words.

So, have you got in front of you your acrostic? Or do you want me to read it?

Tim: I could probably do it from memory. Let’s see if I can.

Chap: The word is COMMUNICATE. OK, go.

Tim: And then the principles are:

C is “chill.”

O is “open up.”

M – “make time.”

M- “mean what you way.”

U- “understand what you hear.”

N- “nourish with grace.”

I- “initiate peace.”

C- “celebrate others”

A- “assume you are wrong.”

T- “think the best.”

E- “examine your heart.”

Chap: Those are just so, so good. Let’s just dive into a few of these. What do you mean by “chill?”

Tim: In one verse, in one Proverb, “a soft answer turns away wrath.” The reality that God expects us to interact with each other in a calm or chilled way, that there’s no room for hot anger, explosive anger. Paul talks about putting away from us all malice and all clamor and all anger. There’s a kind of anger that is legitimate, but anger is seldom- if ever- to be expressed in a hot way, a heated way.

The effort to chill, and I make the point that that chilling is a choice there. I give illustrations in the book that just demonstrate this, that it always is a choice. When, you know, we’re in the middle of a temper tantrum with our kids and the phone rings or dings or sings, whatever our phones happen to do. When the phone goes off, we immediately answer the phone in a sudden calm way. It just shows if we’re rightly motivated and adequately motivated, we can choose to chill. And if we don’t, then our communication is not only going to be ineffective, it’s going to be destructive. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a heated answer stirs up strife. It’s a very basic principle, but it’s a hard one to apply.

Chap: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Talk a little bit about “Making Time.” I think that’s such a huge deal these days. The way I phrase it is we’re trying to have a hundred-dollar conversation in a 25-cent moment. We’re busy. We’re running from activity to activity. Something comes up and we decide we have to have the conversation now. Talk a little bit about making time. I think that’s a huge one.

Tim: You know, there’s a lot of people that, in my judgment, seem to be functioning with the slightly misguided idea that’s summarized by quality is more important than quantity when it comes to communication and relationships and time together. I would argue gently that I don’t know that you can have quality without quantity. We have to make time, and as much of it as is possible, starting with the most important relationships in our lives as God would define it. And if we don’t, then it’s only a matter of time before the effects of not having enough time together are going play out in life.

For years in my early ministry, the statistics showed that marriages were most likely to end somewhere around 25 years in, which was always surprising to me until I thought it out. What happens in the first 25 years? Well, a couple starts off madly in love with each other, and they spend all kinds of time with each other and they go on dates and they take trips and they just can’t get enough of each other. But then kids come along or a second to career comes along, or, college expenses come along so we have to put in more time at work. Or soccer comes along. And what happens is that the couple stop spending time together, because they’re spending all their time on other things. And then they get to the empty nest. They get to year 20 or 25 and they look at the person across the room and they realize, I don’t even know that person anymore. It’s just the sad effect of not committing time, making time throughout all the years.

And so in the book there are very practical suggestions on how to discern who are the primary relationships and then how do you plan, how do you make time for those relationships. absolutely critical. If you don’t do that, then there isn’t any time for all the other principles. You have to make time in order to communicate.

Chap: Yeah, I remember when Sharon and I had our fourth child, Nate, we were disagreeing more. It was a tense time. And then even as things settled down a little bit, and I finally realized, we’ve lost some of the time that we had to talk. And so in your answer just a few minutes ago, you’re talking about investing time in the relationship. But for us at that moment, it was also investing time in terms of just making decisions of what we’re doing with the kids and how we’re raising the kids and whatever.

So what was a real lifesaver was, I remember hearing one speaker talking about going out on coffee dates. So not romantic like a movie or a play or something. Just going on coffee dates, just to say, “Hey, who are you again? And what are we facing?” And just to connect, have some sort of pastry or whatever. And so that making that time is absolutely crucial.

Tim: The coffee date. Or in our house we had four children that were five and under.

Chap: Okay. You get the prize, man.

Tim: Yeah. There’s busyness right there. But we just decided that time together was sacred and not even four children five and under were going to violate that. So we would tell the kids to go to the other end of the house, and we’d plug in whatever video they enjoyed watching. And we’d say to them, “Look, for the next 30 minutes, don’t bother Daddy and Mom. This is Daddy and Mommy time.” This was after dinner’s cleaned up. And we’d have a cup of coffee together and spend 30, 45 minutes just talking. What was the day like? How are you doing? Anything we need to talk about? It was so critical for us as life just kept getting busier as ministry and kids grew and all the rest.

It’s so critical to set that into place early on and then fight for it. Because there will always be something that tries to take it away. And once you think about it, it’s actually more loving. So that time that you quote unquote “take away from the kids,” you’re actually investing in the marriage, which is more loving to the kids. They would much rather have a stable marriage than an extra few minutes with you, and that’s pleasing to the Lord. Amen.

Chap: Okay. So now I’ll present that as an in-house alternative. So that’s an in-house date as opposed to an out-house date, but we won’t call it that.

Tim: We used to joke with the kids, “Don’t interrupt this unless there’s blood.” You know, this I or time and, please, please keep it for us. So they got it. And I think they actually enjoyed it. I think they valued it.

Chap: Talk a little bit about “Mean what you say.” Don’t you think that’s a big one with young parents, which is like, “You’re grounded for life,” or ”You never do what I say, or something like that. So just talk about that.

Tim: At one level, what we’re talking about in this one is just basic honesty. The scriptures say don’t lie to one another. That means meaning what you say. James says, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” It’s just fundamental, basic integrity. And making sure that we don’t lie, and realizing that lying happens much more frequently and perhaps we just don’t notice it. It just happens. It just almost instinctive, or it’s culturally accepted and tolerated. You mentioned parents saying to their kids, “You never help out around the house” or the teenager saying to the parent, “You never let me do what I want to do,” or “You’re always doing this” which are just lies. They’re just flat-out lies. You know that the child does help out around the house sometimes. And the parent does allow you, teenager, to do what you want sometimes. But these are inflammatory lies that are just so commonplace that people don’t even realize the implications.

I like to ask people, “What does the word never mean?” . . . Never! Not ever! That’s a pretty strong term. Or always: all the time. So it’s whether it’s words like that, I mean, it’s just basic integrity. Tell the truth. It’s avoiding explosive dishonest words like always and never. It’s avoiding words that we really don’t mean but we say because again, culturally, this is how people do. For example, “I’m sorry.” “That’s okay.” In most cases it’s a lie on both ends. I’m not really sorry. I’m not even sure what you’re mad at.  Or “I’m sorry if that offended you,” which is not an apology and it’s not sorrow at all. Or “That’s okay.” Well, no, it’s not. The person who says “That’s okay” walks away just as angry as they were before.

And there’s been this little dance step that has gone on without any real authenticity at all. And the end effect of it, of course, is that the source of contention or conflict remains embedded in the heart. The lie has covered it up for a moment, but it’s not going away. So it’s a call to integrity, a call to choosing our words carefully, making sure that we’re doing the best we can, to not just mean what we say, but to make it clear what we mean so that others can actually understand what we’re saying. And it’s so it’s so critical.

I talked about one case many, many, many years ago wherea wife said to her husband, “Why don’t you just bring home your paycheck and then leave?” And so he did. The problem was that’s she didn’t say what she meant. What she really meant was “We want you to be home, but you’re working so much and you’re away from the home so much that you might as well just bring home your check and leave.” She didn’t mean what she said. And next point, he didn’t understand what he heard, failing to understand and ask questions and draw her out and really get to what was going on in her mind. Their failure to understand led to what ultimately was a fatal breakdown in their marriage.

We’ve lost this, right, Chap? I mean, you’re helping people all the time. Even basic intent. I know you see it. We we’ve lost it in our time, even among Christians.

Chap: Well, as you were talking, I’m thinking on the one hand, mean what you say, don’t say “never,” et cetera, but then there’s also the discipline aspect of what you say as a parent, which is “mean what you say,” meaning to follow through. So both are going on. And I think that when the kids ask you, “Can we do this? Can we do that?” There’s always the, “Well, we’ll see, Mom and I will talk about it. Maybe.” And I think I always used those. I tried to be very careful. I don’t think I ever made a verbal commitment that I didn’t follow through. “Oh yeah, we’ll do that.” Maybe there was one or two, but I didn’t want to over-promise. Whatever came out of my mouth, I wanted them to know, Dad said it and that’s going to happen.

Tim: Now, interestingly, I’ve noted a lot of parents using the word “maybe” dishonestly.

Chap: Like me? Like, uh, no, we’re not really going to.

Tim: But they know it down deep. They’re not going do it, but they say maybe because it puts off the decision, the conflict, or the pushback, or the argument with their child for an hour or two or whatever. Which, again, just comes down to integrity. It comes down to the kind. Of commitment that you’re describing. I say something I have to mean it, it has to be true and it,if it’s a promise I have to keep it. Therefore, I must be very careful with my promises, both to make only those ones that I intend to keep and to avoid making ones that there’s not much chance I’m going to keep.

Chap: Well, we’ll debate that. I don’t know.

Tim: Well, I was agreeing with you. “Maybe” is a good answer when it’s the right answer. Right, right. But I have heard it often enough as, this parent knows they’re not going do that, but they’re saying “maybe” just because they don’t want to deal with it right now.

Chap: I may or may not have done that once or twice.

Well, I want to be mindful of your time here. Are there any of those other letters that a crucial one? Because I have one final question on communication.

Tim: Each of each of the points, I think, has some real importance for life. There’s a sense in which the last point, “Examine your heart,” is the most important point of all, because if your heart is not in the right place, evil things come out of the heart. It’s not what goes into the man, but what comes out of the man. James 4 teaches us so powerfully. Why do we have conflicts? Well, it’s because there are things we desire that we do not have. There are pleasures, there are desires. There are cravings. There are longings that are ruling our heart. And when we don’t get what we want, then we go to war to try to get it. I think it’s Paul Tripp who says what controls the heart has an inescapable influence on the life.

And so if I’m having a hard time chilling or doing any of the principles, I need to examine my heart: What is it that’s ruling me, that’s making me willing to sin, to fight, to go to war with others? Examine the heart. James in chapter four, he goes on to talk about the need to repent and be humble and mourn over the sins of the heart and over the sins of the tongue. And draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Just this reorienting of the heart so that we’re wanting what God wants more than what we want. That, then, has an inescapable influence on the tongue and on our communication and everything else. So I would say that the E at the end, there’s a sense in which it could have been at the beginning, but it would’ve messed up the acrostic. So I put it at the end. And if we’re having trouble with all the first principles, then we need to go to the last principle and search our hearts.

Chap: That’s really helpful because in the message I just preached that I’ll probably put up as a podcast on Ephesians 4:29, he is dealing with the words. And then in other places like Matthew 12, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” I think one of the reasons that I so appreciate the book is I wonder if in our tribe we’ve overcompensated in talking so much about the heart- and we should- that we’ve lost that sort of that talking about these skills. And that’s the point I made in the message, to say, “Okay, there’s plenty of other times we should be talking about the heart.” And I definitely covered that. But Paul here in Ephesians 4:29, he’s just talking about straight communication skills, and you can, as the Psalmist said, set a guard over your mouth.

Tim: Such a powerful point, and it was actually one reason why I wrote the book. The books that I had read on communication seemed to fall into one of two categories. One of them was dealing with the theory, the abstraction of communication, the theology of communication, and the other category was the practicals. The how-tos. And for me, one without the other falls short of what we need. We need to know the theology of communication. We need to know that God is a communicating God, and that we’re talking to image-bearers of God. Those are theological truths that if you don’t know them, you’re not going to be much motivated to communicate. We need to know our identity in Christ, who we are in Christ. Gospel truth. Because if we don’t know that, then we’re not going to communicate that. But if all we know is the theology of it and we never get down to the practicals, then where does that leave us?

And and my experience in reading the books that I had on communication, they were either how-tos, which reduced to kind of a moralistic/legalistic, here’s a set of communication rules, or they were books on theology about communication without ever getting down to, well, how do I actually do it? Which I think scripture’s full of. Like I said, Proverbs, James, the epistles, Jesus, wherever you go the practice of communication is emphasized and detailed.

Chap: That’s really helpful. Let me ask one more question and then we’ll talk about the prayer book. Talk to the person who has been listening to everything we’ve said and is saying “Yes”- for themselves- “I need to grow as a communicator,” but would be hesitant to apply this to their 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 year old, because they don’t want to be moralistic or they don’t want to be harsh or they don’t want to scar their child.

I think you and I would come from the same point area, which is to say that that training our children in character is not the same as the gospel, but, we can and should train our children. Children can be trained. As I say in The Disciple-Making Parent, most children over-talk , some of them under-talk, but they too can be trained in biblical principles and it’s not going to harm their self-esteem.

So talk to that parent who’s thinking about applying it to themselves, but not necessarily applying what we’ve talked about to their kids.

Tim: That’s good. I think I’d want respond first by saying that both for the parent, who’s trying to learn these things and apply these things, and for the parent toward their children, in trying to instruct, we really do need to be deep and strong in the gospel. Yeah. My experience has been my own heart, and then as I’ve interacted with others. Where we tend to have our most regrets and grieve the most is in how we have sinned against our family members. At some point we look back and just regret how we treated them, how we talked to them, how we listened or failed to listen to them. And in our homes, we need the gospel every day. Those regrets have to be washed away and cleansed and deleted from, from our conscience in terms of guilt, or else we’re just never going to make it.

 As we try to apply these things, if we’re not applying the gospel- and I actually try to do that throughout the book. Gospel application throughout- these principles are going to bring a lot of conviction and that could easily lead to condemnation, uh, if, if we’re not gospel rounded. So I would want to say that both to the parent as they try to change, and to the parent as they try to affect change in their children, make sure the gospel’s saturating everything.

These are things that can be trained into and I might use the phrase, lived into our children. I hesitate to say it because it might sound self-approving or whatever, but it matters. One of the greatest joys I got, once the book was out and my kids read it, was to have my children- these are all grown children now with children of their own- to have my children say to me, “Dad, this is how you and Mom lived. This was how you did it. And we realize that our relationships are what they are because this is what we saw. This is what we heard. This is what you lived into us.” And I have to say it was very humbling to hear and at one level almost surprising to hear, but it just kind of filled me with a whole range of emotion.

But it speaks to the point that you’re asking about here. I think we can raise the standard for our children first of all by raising it for ourselves. If we start living these things, if we stop, if we start chilling, instead of exploding, our kids are going to notice that and they’re going to be affected by that. I was so moved by a mom that emailed me a while back that they were reading the book together with their young children and their children were just eating it up. They were able to process most of it. And this was family conversation. This was family devotions in a sense, and they read it together and that helped to give them things to talk about with their children. So that may be helpful, to just read it with children. Explain it, ask questions. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter that may help.

But we do need discipline. There are house rules that maybe need to be created. And one of the points is, assume you are wrong. We had a house rule that nobody, including Mom and Dad, could say, “I know I’m right.” That was just forbidden in our home. We could say, “I think I’m right. I’m pretty sure I’m right.” Even, “I almost know I’m right.” But you can’t say, “I know I’m right.” Because unless it’s an absolute in scripture that is unarguably clear, pretty much everything else you’re at least partly wrong. So we turned that into a rule. You can’t say “I know.”

And there are ways to do that that are not legalistic. But I think reading it together, growing together, learning together, admitting that we need to learn this as much as our children do goes a long way.

Chap: And even as you’re talking you’re giving me an idea of just having a family poster with the acrostic down and the words, and this is what we do and when we don’t, we apologize, but we all do. We all do. We are all going to live by the chill out, understand, and assume you’re wrong. That’s really good.

Tim: I’d encourage parents to even memorize the acrostic and one verse to go with each point. And there’s plenty of verses to put from in each chapter. One of the hopes that I’ve had for the book is that it would create a new climate in people’s homes, families, churches, pastoral teams, missionary teams. A different climate of communication as we all have this shared body of truth right now. These 10 or 11 principles, now let’s together reclaim the climate, the atmosphere in our homes, our churches, and elsewhere, and see what God does.

Chap: That’s great. Even as you’re talking I’m thinking, well, this is just sort of general discipleship. You know, I could see a book group of young guys or anyone going through it with that common basis that this is what good communication is.

Well, we’ve got just a few minutes left, but talk a little bit about your prayer journal, An ABC Prayer to Jesus: Praise for Hearts Both Young and Old. Talk a little bit about that, why you wrote it, and who the audience is, and what you hope the outcome is.

Tim: This book was a very special joy to put together. It grew out of one of my other books, actually, the worship worthy book, which was an interesting Facebook experience that I had maybe 12 years ago. One morning I just put up on my Facebook page I think it was five words beginning with the letter a, that talked about Jesus, so awesome. Amazing. And almighty. And then the next day, I said, well, let me try B. I don’t know how many people were tracking with me because they just wanted to see what what’s C going to be, or what are you going to do with the letter Q. But this developed into a 26-day devotional experience where I just went through the alphabet and it just became for me personally, one of the most enriching devotional experiences I’ve ever had as I was just focused on Jesus for 26 days. And what is he like? So it’s about the attributes and so forth of Christ.

As soon as I was done with that, or shortly after I said, “You know, I would love a children’s version of this.” And I wrote the first draft of what became the final draft of this book, An ABC Prayer to Jesus. There’s 26 stanza. Well, 27, actually, there’s a concluding prayer stanza, but there’s 26 stanzas, four-line poems all about Jesus. What I did was I just took metaphors, figures of speech, attributes of Christ, from scripture and just put them together into 26 stanzas. And then I got a friend of mine, Dan Lee, who was willing to do the illustrations for it. Which you have seen, Chap, they’re just fantastic illustrations. And these illustrations, the book is done in black and white. Among other reasons, we found that we really like the look of black and white. There’s something different about it, almost a kind of classic feel to it. And around each page or spread, there’s, a border that is just beautiful illustrations, but they each include hidden objects and animals for the letter of the alphabet so that it becomes fun for kids.

It’s a prayer. It’s really an ABC prayer to Jesus. Adults have expressed their appreciation for it, and one other feature for it that turned it even more into a family devotion experience is that the poems can actually be sung to the tune of the doxology. So every stanza can be sung to the tune of the doxology so that it can be read, it can be sung by families together and they can really enjoy it. And the one final feature is that there’s a page at the end of the book that has all the scripture references for the metaphors and the figures of speech and the names of Christ that are used for each letter. So it can actually become something of a Bible study as well. It was a great joy to put it together. It was just such a delight. And like I said to you earlier, Chap, the hardcover version of it is really has a kind of classic quality, feel, and look to it. The soft cover almost looks like a coloring book. I think people would probably prefer the hard cover, but either one. I trust and hope it’s a blessing to many families.

Chap: Well, thanks, man. That’s really good. I have so enjoyed this conversation. One of the blessings of doing a podcast is I get to talk to my friends, new friends and friends with whom I’ve been of friends for a long time.

Tim: Old works too.

Chap: Where can people, uh, find out more about you? Your website’s, is that right?

Tim: Yep., or I do have a Facebook page I’m sure if they just type Timothy Shorey, they’d find it. I also have a Respect the Image Facebook page as well that people could log onto. So those are the primary ways people can contact me if there’s any questions that people have. My e-mail address is on the website.

Chap: Well, Tim, thanks so much for your ministry. Thanks for so much for your insights, and thanks for your time.

Tim: Well, Chap, thank you. It just it’s been fun and a privilege to be on with you and I appreciate the encouragement.

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